Spiritual Meaning of

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That a prince denotes primary truth, is because a king in the internal sense signifies truth itself (AC 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4789, 4966); hence princes, because they are the sons of a king, signify the primary things of that truth. That princes have this signification may be seen above in (AC 1482, 2089), but as this was not there proved from many other passages in the Word, some may be cited here. In Isaiah:--

Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the principality shall be upon His shoulder--the Prince of peace. Of the multiplying of His principality and peace there shall be no end (Isa. 9:6, 7);

which is said of the Lord. The principality upon the shoulder is all Divine truth in the heavens from Him; for the heavens are distinguished into principalities according to truths from good, whence also the angels are called principalities. Peace is a state of blessedness in the heavens, affecting with good and truth from the inmosts (AC 3780); hence the Lord is called the Prince of peace, and it is said that of the multiplying of His principality and peace there shall be no end.

[4] Again in the same prophet:--

The princes of Zoan are foolish, the wise, the counselors of Pharaoh. How say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of the kings of antiquity? The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; and they have seduced Egypt, the corner stone of the tribes (Isa. 19:11, 13);

treating of Egypt, by which is signified the memory-knowledge of the church (AC 4749), thus natural truth, which is the ultimate of order; wherefore also Egypt is here called the corner stone of the tribes, for the tribes are all things of truth in one complex (AC 3858, 3862, 3926, 3939, 4060). But in this passage Egypt is the memory-knowledge which perverts the truths of the church, thus truths in the ultimate of order falsified, which are the princes of Zoan and the princes of Noph. He calls himself the son of the kings of antiquity, because the memory-knowledges in Egypt were from the truths of the Ancient Church. The truths themselves are signified by kings, as was shown above, and the truths of the Ancient Church are signified by the kings of antiquity.

[5] Again:--

Asshur thinketh not right, and his heart doth not meditate right; for his heart is to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few. For he saith Are not my princes kings? (Isa. 10:7, 8);

Asshur denotes reasoning about Divine truths, from which come falsities, thus perverse reasoning (AC 1186). The truths thus falsified, or falsities, which are produced by reasoning and which appear as the veriest truths, are signified by his saying, Are not my princes kings? That Asshur is reasoning, and that his princes who are kings are primary falsities which are believed to be the veriest truths, cannot be seen and thence believed so long as the mind is kept in the historic sense of the letter, and still less if it is in the negative as to there being anything more holy and more universal in the Divine Word than what appears in the letter; and yet in the internal sense by Asshur nothing else than reason and reasoning is understood in the Word, and by kings truths themselves, and by princes the primary things of truth. Nothing is known in heaven of Asshur, and the angels also reject from themselves the idea of a king and a prince; and when they perceive it in man, they transfer it to the Lord, and perceive that which proceeds from the Lord and is the Lord's in heaven, namely, the Divine truth from His Divine good.

[6] Again:--

Asshur shall fall with the sword, not of a man; and the sword, not of a man, shall devour him; his rock shall also pass away by reason of dread, but his princes shall be dismayed by the ensign (Isa. 31:8, 9);

also said of Egypt, which is the memory-knowledge of the church perverted. Reasoning from memory-knowledges about Divine truths, from which come perversion and falsification, is Asshur, these truths perverted and falsified are the princes, the sword with which Asshur shall fall is falsity battling with and vastating truth (AC 2799, 4499). Again:--

The strength of Pharaoh shall become to you for a shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt for a reproach, when his princes shall be in Zoan (Isa. 30:3, 4);

the princes in Zoan denote truths falsified, thus falsities, as above.

[7] Again:--

The pelican and the bittern shall possess it; and the owl and the raven shall dwell therein; he shall stretch over it the line of emptiness, and the plummet of a waste. The nobles thereof are not there, they shall call a kingdom, and all her princes shall be nothing (Isa. 34:11, 12);

the pelican, the bittern, the owl, and the raven, denote the different kinds of falsity which come into existence when the Divine truths that are in the Word become of no account. The desolation and vastation of truth are signified by the line of emptiness, and the plummet of a waste; and the falsities, which to them are primary truths, are signified by princes. Again:--

I will render profane the princes of holiness, and I will give Jacob for a curse, and Israel for reproaches (Isa. 43:28);

to profane the princes of holiness denotes to profane holy truths; the extirpation of the truth of the external and the internal church is signified by giving Jacob for a curse, and Israel for reproaches; that Jacob is the external church, and Israel the internal, may be seen above (AC 4286).

[8] In Jeremiah:

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

one who here understands the Word in the historic sense, cannot be aware that the words store within them anything more deep and holy than that kings and princes would enter in by the gates of the city in chariots and on horses, and he gathers from it that the duration of the kingdom is referred to; but he who knows what a city, kings, princes, the throne of David, and riding in chariot and on horses signify in the internal sense, sees there things more deep and holy; for the city or Jerusalem signifies the spiritual kingdom of the Lord (AC 2117, 3654); kings signify Divine truths; princes, the primary things of truth; the throne of David, the heaven of the Lord (AC 1888); riding in chariot and on horses, the spiritual understanding of the church (AC 2760, 2761, 3217).

[9] Again:--

O sword against the Chaldeans, and against the inhabitants of Babylon, and against her princes and against her wise men. O sword against the liars. O sword against her horses and against her chariots (Jer. 50:35-37);

a sword denotes truth fighting against falsity, and falsity fighting against truth and vastating it (AC 2799, 4499); the Chaldeans denote those who profane truths; and the inhabitants of Babylon, those who profane good (AC 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1307, 1308, 1321, 1322, 1326, 1327); princes denote the falsities which to such are primary truths; horses, the intellectual of the church, and chariots, its doctrine, the vastation of which is signified by a sword against the horses and against the chariots.

[10] Again:--

How doth the Lord in His anger cloud over the daughter of Zion The Lord hath swallowed up, He hath not spared, all the habitations of Jacob; He hath destroyed in His wrath the stronghold of the daughter of Judah; He hath cast them forth to the earth; He hath profaned the kingdom and the princes thereof; the gates have sunk into the earth, and He hath broken the bars in pieces; the king and the princes are among the nations (Lam. 2:1, 2, 9);

the daughter of Zion and of Judah denotes the celestial church, here this church destroyed; the kingdom, the truths of doctrine therein (AC 2547, 4691); the king, the truth itself, and the princes, its primaries.

[11] Again:--

Our skins have been blackened like an oven, because of the storms of famine. They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah, the princes were hanged up by their hand (Lam. 5:10-12);

the princes being hanged up by their hand denotes that truths are profaned, for hanging represented the damnation of profanation; and because of this representation, it was also commanded when the people committed whoredom after Baal-peor and worshiped their gods, that the princes should be hanged up before the sun (Num. 25:1-4); for to commit whoredom after Baal-peor, and to worship their gods, was to profane worship. In Ezekiel:--

The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with astonishment, and the hands of the people of the land shall be terrified; I will deal with them after their way (Ezek. 7:27);

where the king in like manner denotes truth in general, and the prince, its primaries.

[12] Again:--

The prince that is in the midst of them shall be borne upon the shoulder in the dark, and shall go forth; they shall dig through the wall to bring out through it; he will veil over his faces that he see not the earth at his eye (Ezek. 12:12);

that a prince here does not mean a prince, but the truth of the church, is very manifest; and when it is said of this that it shall be borne on the shoulder in the dark, it means that with all their might it should be conveyed down among falsities, for darkness is falsities; to veil over the faces denotes that truth should not be seen at all; his not seeing the earth at his eye, means that nothing of the church would be seen. The earth is the church, (AC 662, 1066, 1068, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535). In Hosea:--

The sons of Israel shall sit many days, there is no king, and no prince, and no sacrifice, and no pillar, and no ephod, and no teraphim (Hosea 3:4).

[13] And in David:--

The king's daughter is all glorious within; and of inweavings of gold is her garment, in needlework shall she be brought to the king; instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons, thou shalt set them for princes in the whole earth (Ps. 45:13-16);

the king's daughter is the Lord's spiritual kingdom, which is called His spiritual kingdom from the Lord's Divine truth, here described by her garment of inweavings of gold and of needlework; sons are the truths of that kingdom which are from the Lord's Divine, which must be princes, that is, primary truths. The prince who together with his possessions in the New Jerusalem and in the new earth is described in (Ezekiel 44:3; 45:7, 8, 17; 46:8, 10, 12, 16, 18; 48:21), signifies in general the truth which is from the Lord's Divine; for by the New Jerusalem, the new temple, and the new earth there, is meant the Lord's kingdom in heaven and on earth, which is there described by representatives such as are found in other parts of the Word.

from AC 5044

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