(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 1992

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1992. I am God Shaddai. That in the sense of the letter this signifies the name of Abram's God, by which name the Lord was first represented before them, is evident from the things contained in the Word concerning Abram, and concerning the house of his father, in that they adored other gods. In Syria, whence Abram came, there still existed remains of the Ancient Church, and many families there retained its worship-as is evident from Eber who was of that country, from whom came the Hebrew nation-and they in like manner retained the name "Jehovah," as is evident from what has been shown in Part First (n. 1343), and also from the case of Balaam, who was from Syria and offered sacrifices and called Jehovah his God. That Balaam was from Syria may be seen in Numbers 23:7; that he offered sacrifices, Num. 22:39-40; 23:1-3, 14, 29; that he called Jehovah his God, Num. 22:8, 13, 18, 31; 23:8, 12, 16.
[2] But this was not the case with the house of Terah, the father of Abram and Nahor, for this was one of the families of the nations there that had not only lost the name "Jehovah" but had also served other gods, and instead of Jehovah had worshiped Shaddai, whom they called their god. That they had lost the name "Jehovah," is evident from the things adduced in Part First (n. 1343). And that they served other gods is openly stated in Joshua:
Joshua said unto all the people, Thus hath said Jehovah, the God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt of old time beyond the River, Terah the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods; now fear Jehovah, and serve Him in entirety and in truth; and put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve ye Jehovah. And if it be evil in your eyes to serve Jehovah, choose ye this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods that your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites (Josh. 24:2, 14-15).
That Nahor also, the brother of Abram, and the nation descended from him, served other gods, is evident from Laban the Syrian, who was in the city of Nahor and worshiped images or teraphim, which Rachel carried away (Gen. 24:10; 31:19, 26, 32, 34). See also what is said on this subject in Part First (n. 1356). That instead of Jehovah they worshiped Shaddai, whom they called their god, is distinctly stated in Moses:
I (Jehovah) appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Shaddai; and by My name Jehovah was I not known to them (Exod. 6:3).
[3] From all this we may see that in his early manhood, Abram, like other Gentiles, was an idolater, and that up to this time, while living in the land of Canaan, he had not rejected from his mind the god Shaddai-by which is meant in the sense of the letter the name of Abram's god-and that by this name the Lord was first represented before them (that is, before Abram, Isaac, and Jacob), as is evident from the passage just quoted.
[4] The reason why the Lord was willing to be first represented before them by the name "Shaddai" is that the Lord by no means desires to destroy suddenly (still less in a single moment) the worship that has been inseminated in anyone from his infancy; for this would be to tear up the root, and thereby destroy the holy state of adoration and of worship that has been deeply implanted, and which the Lord never breaks, but bends. The holy state of worship, that has been rooted in from infancy is of such a nature that it cannot endure violence, but only a gentle and kindly bending. The case is the same with those Gentiles who in their bodily life had worshiped idols, and yet had lived in mutual charity. As the holy state of their worship has been inrooted from their infancy, in the other life it is not taken away in a moment, but successively; for in those who have lived in mutual charity, the goods and truths of faith can be easily implanted, and they receive them afterwards with joy; for charity is the very soil. And such also was the case with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in that the Lord suffered them to retain the name "God Shaddai," insomuch that He said He was God Shaddai; and this from the meaning of the name.
[5] Some translators render Shaddai "the Almighty;" others, "the Thunderer;" but it properly signifies "the Tempter" or "Tester," and "the Benefactor," after the temptations" or "trials," as is evident from the book of Job, which mentions "Shaddai" so frequently because Job was in trials or temptations; as may be seen from the following passages:
Behold, happy is the man whom God chastiseth; and reject not thou the chastening of Shaddai (Job 5:17). The arrows of Shaddai are with me, the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me (Job 6:4). He shall forsake the fear of Shaddai (Job 6:14). I will speak to Shaddai, and I desire to contend with God (Job 13:3). He hath stretched out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against Shaddai His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the fury of Shaddai (Job 21:20). Shaddai, thou shalt not find Him out; He is great in power, and in judgment, and in the greatness of righteousness. He will not afflict (Job 37:23).
Also in Joel:
Alas for the day! for the day of Jehovah is near, and as devastation from Shaddai shall it come (Joel 1:15).
The same may also be seen from the word shaddai itself, which signifies vastation, and thus temptation, for temptation is a kind of vastation. But as this name took its rise from nations in Syria, He is not called "Elohim Shaddai," but "El Shaddai;" and in Job simply "Shaddai," and "El" or "God" is named separately.
[6] As after temptations there is consolation, those people also attributed the good resulting from them to the same Shaddai (as in Job 22:17, 23, 25-26); as well as the understanding of truth, which also results from temptations (Job 32:8; 33:4). And as Shaddai was thus esteemed as the god of truth-for vastation, temptation, chastening, and rebuking, are not of good, but of truth-and because the Lord was represented by him before Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the name was retained even in the Prophets; but in them by "Shaddai" is meant truth. As in Ezekiel:
I heard the voice of the wings of the cherubim, like the voice of many waters, like the voice of Shaddai, when they went; the voice of tumult, like the voice of a camp (Ezek. 1:24).
And again:
The court was filled with the brightness of the glory of Jehovah; and the voice of the wings of the cherubim was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of God Shaddai when He speaketh (Ezek. 10:4-5);
where "Jehovah" denotes good, and "Shaddai" truth. In the internal sense of the Word "wings" in like manner signify things that belong to truth.
[7] Moreover Isaac and Jacob also make mention of the God Shaddai in a similar sense, that is, as of one who tempts, and delivers from temptation, and afterwards confers benefits. When Jacob was fleeing because of Esau, Isaac said to him,
God Shaddai bless thee, and make thee fruitful and multiply thee (Gen. 28:3).
And when the sons of Jacob were about to go into Egypt to buy corn, and when they feared Joseph so greatly, Jacob said to them,
God Shaddai give you mercies before the man, that he may release unto you your other brother, and Benjamin (Gen. 43:14).
Jacob, then called Israel, blessing Joseph, who had been in the evils of temptations, or trials, more than his brethren, and had been delivered from them, said,
By the God of thy father, and He shall help thee, and with Shaddai, and he shall bless thee (Gen. 49:25).
All this shows why the Lord was at first willing to be represented by the god Shaddai whom Abram worshiped, and why He said "I am God Shaddai;" as in like manner He afterwards said to Jacob, "I am God Shaddai; be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 35:11); and a further reason was that in what goes before, temptations were treated of in the internal sense.
[8] The worship of Shaddai among those people originated from the fact that, as was the case with a certain nation that of the Lord's Divine mercy will be spoken of in what follows, so with those who were of the Ancient Church, there were often heard spirits who reproved them and who also afterwards comforted them. The spirits who reproved them were perceived at the left side, beneath the arm. Angels were present at such times, at the head, who governed the spirits and moderated the reproof. And as there was nothing that was said to them by the spirits which they did not regard as Divine, they named the reproving spirit "Shaddai;" and because he afterwards administered consolation, they called him "the god Shaddai." The men at that time, as also the Jews, because they did not understand the internal sense of the Word, were in the religious belief that all evil and thus all temptation, like all good and thus all consolation, come from God; but that it is not so, may be seen in Part First (n. 245, 592, 696, 1093, 1874, 1875).


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