Spiritual Meaning of

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That kings signify truths, may be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:--

The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee; thou shalt suck the milk of the nations, and the breast of kings shalt thou suck (Isaiah 60:10, 16);

what it is to suck the milk of nations and the breast of kings, is by no means plain from the letter, but it is from the internal sense, in which it signifies to be gifted with goods, and instructed in truths. In Jeremiah:--

There shall enter in by the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses (Jeremiah 17:25; 22:4);

to ride in chariots and on horses is a prophetical saying which signifies an abundance of intellectual things, as may appear from very many passages in the Prophets; and thus by kings entering in by the gates of the city is signified in the internal sense that they should be imbued with truths of faith. This is the heavenly sense of the Word, into which the worldly literal sense passes.

[4] Again, in the same Prophet:--

Jehovah hath despised in the indignation of His anger the king and the priest; the gates of Zion have sunk into the earth; He hath destroyed and broken her bars; her king and her princes are among the nations; the law is not (Lam. 2:6, 9);

the king here denotes the truth of faith; the priest the good of charity; Zion the church which is being destroyed, and whose bars are being broken; hence the king and the princes are among the nations, that is, truth and the things which are of truth will be banished to such an extent that there will be no law," that is, nothing of the doctrine of faith. In Isaiah:--

Before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the ground shall be forsaken, which thou loathest in the presence of her two kings (Isaiah 7:16);

where the Lord's coming is treated of; the ground which shall be forsaken denotes faith, of which there would then he none, and the truths of which are the kings that would be loathed.

[5] In the same Prophet:--

I will lift up My hand to the nations, and raise up My ensign to the peoples and they shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and thy daughters shall be carried upon the shoulder; and kings shall be thy nourishers, and their queens those that give thee suck (Isa. 49:22, 23)

the nations and the daughters denote goods; and the peoples and the sons truths. Nations denote goods, (AC 1259, 1260, 1416, 1849); and daughters have a similar signification, (AC 489-491); also peoples denote truths, (AC 1259, 1260); and sons likewise, (AC 489, 491, 533, 1147). Kings therefore denote truths in general, by which they will be nourished, and their queens the goods from which they will be suckled. Whether you say goods and truths, or those who are in goods and truths, it is the same.

[6] Again in the same Prophet:--

He shall sprinkle many nations, upon him kings shall shut their mouth--for that which was (not) told them have they seen; and that which they did not hear have they understood (Isa. 52:15),

where the Lord's coming is spoken of; the nations denote those who are affected by goods, and kings those who are affected by truths. In David:--

Now, O ye kings, be intelligent; be instructed, ye judges of the earth; serve Jehovah with fear, and exult with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way (Ps. 2:10-12).

Kings denote those who are in truths; who also from their truths are often called king's sons; the Son here denotes the Lord, who is here called the Son because He is the truth itself, and because all truth is from Him.

[7] In John:--

They shall sing a new song, Worthy art Thou who takest the book, and openest the seals thereof Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests, that we may reign upon the earth (Rev. 5:9, 10);

where they who are in truths are called kings. The Lord also calls such persons the sons of the kingdom, in Matthew:--

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the seed is the sons of the kingdom, and the tares are the sons of the evil one (Matthew 13:37, 38).

In John:--

The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the Kings that are from the sun-rising might be prepared (Rev. 16:12).

That by the Euphrates is not meant the Euphrates, nor by the kings from the sun-rising any kings therefrom, is evident (what is meant by the Euphrates (AC 120, 1585, 1866); so that the way of the kings that are from the sunrising means the truths of faith that are from the goods of love.

[8] In the same:--

The nations that are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it (Rev. 21:24);

where the nations denote those who are in goods, and the kings of the earth those who are in truths, as may be inferred from the fact that these words are prophetic, and not historical. In the same:--

With the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters the kings of the earth have committed whoredom, and have been made drunken with the wine of her whoredom (Rev. 17:1, 2).

And again:--

Babylon hath made all the nations drink of the wine of her whoredom, and the kings of the earth have committed whoredom with her (Rev. 18:3, 9);

where in like manner it is evident that kings are not meant by the kings of the earth; for the falsification and adulteration of the doctrine of faith, that is, of truth, is treated of, and this is the whoredom; the kings of the earth denote the truths that are falsified and adulterated.

[9] In the same:--

The ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, that have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority (potestas) as kings with the beast for one hour. These shall have one mind, and shall give their power and authority to the beast (Rev. 17:12, 13);

that these kings are not kings, is evident to every one; for if so it would he wholly unintelligible that the ten kings should receive authority as kings one hour. So too in another passage:--

I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war with him that sat upon the horse, and with his army (Rev. 19:19);

that he that sat upon the horse is the Word of God, is openly stated in (Rev. 19:13); and it is against this that the kings of the earth are said to have been gathered together. The beast denotes the goods of love, profaned; and the kings denote the truths of faith, adulterated; these are called the kings of the earth, because they are within the church. The earth is the church (AC 662, 1066, 1067, 1262). The white horse denotes the understanding of truth; and he that sat upon the horse, the Word. This meaning is still more manifest in Daniel 11, where the war between the king of the south and the king of the north is treated of; by which terms are signified the truths and falsities that had fought, the combats being described here also in an historical manner by this war.

[10] As a king signifies truth, it may be seen what is meant in the internal sense when the Lord is called a King and also a Priest; and also what it was in the Lord that was represented by kings, and what by priests. Kings represented His Divine truth, and priests His Divine good. All the laws of order by which the Lord governs the universe as King, are truths; but all the laws by which He governs the universe as Priest, and by which also He rules truths themselves, are goods; for government from truths alone would condemn every one to hell; but government from goods lifts every one out thence and uplifts him' into heaven (AC 1728). Because in the Lord's case these two are conjoined, they were anciently represented by kingship conjoined with priesthood; as with Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and at the same time priest to God Most High (Gen. 14:18); and afterwards with the Jews, among whom the representative church was instituted in its own form, by judges and priests, and afterwards by kings.

[11] But as the kings represented truths, which ought not to have command, for the reason, as before said, that they condemn, therefore the desire to have kings was so displeasing as to call for rebuke, and the nature of truth as regarded in itself was describe by the rights (jus) of the king (1 Sam. 8:11-18); and at an earlier day it was commanded by Moses (Deut. 17:14-18) that they should choose genuine truth which is from good, and not spurious; and that they should not defile it by reasonings and memory-knowledges (scientifica). This is what is involved in the directions concerning a king. given in Moses in the place just cited; which no one can possibly see from the sense of the letter, but yet is evident from the several points contained in the internal sense; so that king and kingship evidently represented and signified nothing else than truth.

from AC 2015

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