(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 3994

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3994. And every black one among the lambs. That this signifies an own that is innocent that belongs to the good signified by "Laban," is evident from the signification of "black," as being what is man's own (concerning which just above, n. 3993); and from the signification of a "lamb," as being innocence (concerning which below). As regards an own that is innocent, signified by the "black among the lambs," the case is this. In all good there must be innocence in order that it may be good. Charity without innocence is not charity; and still less is love to the Lord possible without innocence. For this reason innocence is the very essential of love and charity, consequently of good. An own that is innocent is to know, acknowledge, and believe, not with the mouth but with the heart, that nothing but evil is from one's self, and that all good is from the Lord; and therefore that what is man's own is nothing but blackness; that is to say, not only the own of his will, which is evil, but also the own of his understanding, which is falsity. When man is in this confession and belief from the heart, the Lord flows in with good and truth, and insinuates into him a heavenly own, which is white and lustrous. No one can ever be in true humility unless he is in this acknowledgment and belief from the heart; for he is then in annihilation of self, nay, in the loathing of self, and thus in absence from self; and in this manner he is then in a state capable of receiving the Divine of the Lord. It is by this means that the Lord flows in with good into a humble and contrite heart.
[2] Such is the own that is innocent, which is here signified by the "black among the lambs" that Jacob chose for himself; but the white among the lambs is the self-merit that is placed in goods. (That "white" is merit has been shown above, n. 3993.) This Jacob did not choose, because it is contrary to innocence; for he who places self-merit in goods, acknowledges and believes that all good is from himself; because in the goods he does he has regard to himself, and not to the Lord, and accordingly demands recompense on account of his merit. Such a one therefore despises others in comparison with himself, and even condemns them, and consequently in the same proportion recedes from heavenly order, that is, from good and truth. From all this it is now evident that charity toward the neighbor and love to the Lord are impossible unless there is innocence within them; consequently that no one can come into heaven unless there is something of innocence in him; according to the Lord's words:
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein (Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17);
by a "little child" here and elsewhere in the Word is signified innocence. (See what has been said before on this subject, namely, That infancy is not innocence, but that innocence dwells in wisdom, n. 2305, 3494: What the innocence of infancy is, and what the innocence of wisdom, n. 2306, 3183: also, What man's own is when vivified by the Lord with innocence and charity, n. 154: That innocence causes good to be good, n. 2526, 2780.)
[3] That "lambs" signify innocence may be seen from many passages in the Word, of which the following may be adduced in confirmation. In Isaiah:
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them (Isa. 11:6);
where the subject treated of is the Lord's kingdom, and the state of peace and innocence therein. The "wolf" denotes those who are against innocence; and the "lamb," those who are in innocence. Again in the same Prophet:
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent's bread. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all the mountain of My holiness (Isa. 65:25);
where the "wolf" as above denotes those who are against innocence; and the "lamb," those who are in innocence. As the "wolf" and the "lamb" are opposites, the Lord also said to the seventy whom He sent forth:
Behold I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves (Luke 10:3).
In Moses:
He maketh him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; butter of the herd, and milk of the flock, with the fat of lambs and of rams, the sons of Bashan (Deut. 32:13-14);
here in the internal sense the celestial things of the Ancient Church are treated of, and the "fat of lambs" denotes the charity of innocence.
[4] In the original language "lambs" are expressed by various names, by which are signified the different degrees of innocence; for as before said, in all good there must be innocence to make it good; consequently there must be the same in truth. "Lambs" are here expressed by the same word that is used for "sheep" (as in Lev. 1:10; 3:7; 5:6; 17:3; 22:19; Num. 18:17); and it is the innocence of the faith of charity that is signified. Elsewhere they are expressed by other words, as in Isaiah:
Send ye the lamb of the ruler of the land from the rock toward the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion (Isa. 16:1).
By still another word in the same prophet:
The Lord Jehovih cometh in strength, and his arm shall rule for him; he shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that give suck (Isa. 40:10-11);
where to "gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom," denotes those who are in charity in which there is innocence.
[5] In John:
When Jesus showed Himself to the disciples, He said to Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My lambs. He saith to him a second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My sheep (John 21:15-16).
"By Peter" here and elsewhere is signified faith (see the preface to Genesis 18, and the preface to chapter 22, and n. 3750); and as faith is not faith unless it is from charity toward the neighbor, and thus from love to the Lord; and as charity and love are not charity and love unless they are from innocence, for this reason the Lord first asks Peter whether he loves Him, that is, whether there is love in the faith, and then says, "Feed My lambs," that is, those who are in innocence. And then, after the same question, He says, "Feed My sheep," that is, those who are in charity.
[6] As the Lord is the innocence itself which is in His kingdom, the all of innocence being from Him, He is called the "Lamb"; as in John:
The next day John the Baptist seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).
And in the Revelation:
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen (Rev. 17:14, and elsewhere, in Rev. 5:6; 6:1, 16; 7:9, 14, 17; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1, 4; 19:7, 9; 21:22-23, 26-27; 22:1, 3).
That in the supreme sense the paschal lamb is the Lord is well known; for the passover signified the Lord's glorification, that is, the putting on of the Divine in respect to the Human; and in the representative sense it signifies man's regeneration; and the paschal lamb signifies that which is the essential of regeneration, namely, innocence; for no one can be regenerated except by means of the charity in which there is innocence.
[7] As innocence is the primary thing in the Lord's kingdom, and is the celestial itself there, and as the sacrifices and burnt-offerings represented the spiritual and celestial things of the Lord's kingdom, therefore the very essential of the Lord's kingdom, which is innocence, was represented by lambs. For this reason a perpetual or daily burnt-offering was made of lambs, one in the morning, and another in the evening (Exod. 29:37-39; Num. 28:3, 4), and a double one on the sabbath days (Num. 28:9, 10), and of still more lambs on stated festivals (Lev. 23:12; Num. 28:11, 17, 19, 27; 29). The reason why a woman who had given birth, after the days of her cleansing were accomplished, was to offer a lamb for a burnt-offering, and the young of a pigeon or a turtle-dove (Lev. 12:6), was that the effect of conjugial love might be signified (for that conjugial love is innocence may be seen above, n. 2736); and also because innocence is signified by "infants."


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