Spiritual Meaning of

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What the years, and the numbers of years, signify in the internal sense, has hitherto been unknown. Those who abide in the literal sense suppose them to be secular years, whereas in Genesis to the twelfth chapter there is nothing historical according to its appearance in the literal sense, but all things in general and every single thing in particular contain other matters. And this is the case not only with the names, but also with the numbers. In the Word frequent mention is made of the number three, and also of the number seven, and wheresoever they occur they signify something holy or most sacred in regard to the states which the times or other things involve or represent; and they have the same signification in the least intervals of time as in the greatest, for as the parts belong to the whole, so the least things belong to the greatest, for there must be a likeness in order that the whole may properly come forth from the parts, or the greatest from its leasts. Thus in Isaiah:--

Now hath Jehovah spoken, saying, within three years, as the years of a hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be rendered worthless (Isaiah 16:14).


Thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of a hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall be consumed (Isaiah 21:16),

where both the least and the greatest intervals are signified. in Habakkuk:--

Jehovah, I have heard Thy renown, and was afraid; O Jehovah, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known (Habakkuk 3:2),

where the midst of the years signifies the Lord's advent. In lesser intervals it signifies every coming of the Lord, as when man is being regenerated; in greater, when the church of the Lord is arising anew. It is likewise called the year of the redeemed, in Isaiah:--

The day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed is come (Isaiah 63:4).

So also the thousand years in which Satan was to be bound (Rev. 20:2, 7), and the thousand years of the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4, 5, 6), by no means signify a thousand years, but their states; for as days are used to express states, as shown above, so also are years, and the states are described by the number of the years.

AC 482

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