309. That by the "flame of a sword turning itself" is signified self-love [amor proprius] with its insane cupidities and persuasions, which are such that they desire to enter [into the mysteries of faith], but are carried away to corporeal and earthly things, might be confirmed by so many passages from the Word as would fill pages; but we will cite only these from Ezekiel:
Prophesy and say, Thus saith Jehovah, Say a sword, a sword, it is sharpened, and also burnished to make a sore slaughter; it is sharpened that it may be as lightning. Let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of his slain; the sword of a great slaughter, which entereth into their bed-chambers, that their heart may melt, and their offenses be multiplied, I have set the terror of the sword in all their gates. Alas! it is made as lightning (Ezek. 21:9, 10, 14, 15).
A "sword" here signifies the desolation of man such that he sees nothing that is good and true, but mere falsities and things contrary, denoted by "multiplying offenses." It is also said in Nahum, of those who desire to enter into the mysteries of faith, "The horseman mounting, and the flame of the sword, and the flash of the spear, and a multitude of the slain" (Nah. 3:3).