(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 1066

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1066. And from these was the whole earth overspread. That this signifies that from them were derived all doctrines, both true and false, is evident from the signification of "earth." "Earth" or "land" in the Word, is used with various meanings. In the universal sense it denotes the place or region where the church is, or where it has been, as the land of Canaan, the land of Judah, the land of Israel. Thus it denotes universally everyone that belongs to the church, since the land is predicated of the man who is in it, as we know in common speech. In ancient times therefore when men spoke of the "whole earth" they did not mean the whole globe, but only the land where the church was, and thus the church itself; as is evident from the following passages in the Word. In Isaiah:
Behold, Jehovah maketh the earth empty; the earth shall be utterly emptied; the earth shall mourn and be confounded; the earth also shall be polluted under the inhabitants thereof; therefore shall the curse devour the earth; therefore the inhabitants of the earth shall be burned, and man shall be left feeble. The cataracts from on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth do shake; the earth is utterly broken; the earth is clean dissolved; the earth is moved exceedingly; the earth reeling shall reel like a drunken man, and shall be moved to and fro like a hut, and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again (Isa. 24:1, 3-6, 18-20).The "earth" here denotes the people who are in it, and in fact the people of the church, thus the church itself, and the vastated things of the church, of which when vastated it is said that they are "emptied" "moved exceedingly" "reel like a drunken man" "move to and fro" and "fall, not to rise again."
[2] That by "earth" or "land" is signified man, consequently the church, which is of man, may be seen in Malachi:
All nations shall call you happy; for ye shall be a delightsome land (Mal. 3:12).
That "earth" denotes the church is seen in Isaiah:
Have ye not understood the foundations of the earth? (Isa. 40:21),
where the "foundations of the earth" denote the foundations of the church. Again:
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; Rev.21:1).
"New heavens and a new earth" denote the kingdom of the Lord and the church. In Zechariah:
Jehovah, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him (Zech. 12:1),
meaning the church. Also, as before, in Genesis:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1).
And the heavens and the earth were finished (Gen. 2:1).
These are the nativities of the heavens and of the earth (Gen. 2:4),
everywhere denoting the church created, formed, and made. In Joel:
The earth quaked before Him, the heavens trembled, the sun and the moon were darkened (Joel 2:10),
meaning the church and the things of the church; when these are vastated, "heaven and earth" are said to quake, and the "sun and moon" to grow dark, that is, love and faith.
[3] In Jeremiah:
I beheld the earth, and lo a void and emptiness; and the heavens, and they had no light (Jer. 4:23).
Here the "earth" plainly denotes the man in whom there is not anything of the church. Again:
The whole earth shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full consummation; for this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black (Jer. 4:27-28).
Here also the church is meant, whose exteriors are the "earth" and the interiors the "heavens" of which it is said that they shall be black, with no light in them, when there is no longer wisdom of good and intelligence of truth. Then the earth also is empty and void; and in like manner the man of the church who should be a church. That by the "whole earth" is meant in other places also only the church, may be seen in Daniel:
The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces (Dan. 7:23);
the "whole earth" denotes the church and what is of the church; for the Word does not treat, like profane writings, of monarchial sovereignties, but of the holy things and states of the church, which are here signified by the "kingdoms of the earth."
[4] In Jeremiah:
A great tempest shall be raised up from the uttermost parts of the earth; and the slain of Jehovah shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth (Jer. 25:32-33);
here "from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth" means the church and everything that is of the church. In Isaiah:
The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into singing (Isa. 14:7),
where the "whole earth" denotes the church. In Ezekiel:
When the whole earth rejoiceth (Ezek. 35:14),
where also the "whole earth" denotes the church. In Isaiah:
I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth (Isa. 54:9),
where the "earth" denotes the church, because the church is there treated of. [5] Because "land" or "earth" in the Word signifies the church, it signifies also what is not the church, for every such word has contrary or opposite meanings; as for example the various lands of the Gentiles; in general all lands outside the land of Canaan. "Land" is therefore taken also for the people and for the man outside the church, and hence for the external man, for his will, his Own, and so forth. The term is rarely used in the Word for the whole world, except when the whole human race is meant as regards their state, whether of the church or not of the church. And because the earth is the containant of the ground, which also signifies the church, and the ground is the containant of the field, the word "earth" signifies, because it involves, many things; and what it signifies is evident from the subject treated of, which is that of which the term is predicated. From all this it is evident that by the "whole earth" that was overspread by the sons of Noah, is not signified the whole world, or the whole human race, but all the doctrines both true and false that were of the churches.


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