(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 4594

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4594. This is Bethlehem. That this signifies in place thereof the resurrection of a new spiritual of the celestial, is evident from the signification of "Bethlehem," as being the spiritual of the celestial in a new state; for "Ephrath" is the spiritual of the celestial in a former state (n. 4585), and by her being buried there is signified the resurrection of a new state (n. 4593). That Rachel brought forth her second son or Benjamin in Bethlehem, and died in bringing him forth, also that David was born in Bethlehem and was there anointed king, and finally that the Lord was there born, is a mystery which as yet has not been revealed, and could not be revealed to anyone who did not know what is signified by "Ephrath" and by "Bethlehem," and what was represented by Benjamin, and also by David; and especially who did not know what the spiritual of the celestial is, for this was signified by these places and was represented by these persons.
[2] The reason why the Lord was born there and not elsewhere, is that He alone was born a spiritual celestial man, but all others natural, with the capacity or ability to become either celestial or spiritual by regeneration from the Lord. The reason why the Lord was born a spiritual celestial man was that He might make His Human Divine, and this according to order from the lowest degree to the highest, and might thus dispose into order all things in the heavens and in the hells. For the spiritual celestial is intermediate between the natural or external man and the rational or internal man (see above, n. 4585, 4592), thus below it was the natural or external, and above it was the rational or internal.
[3] He who cannot apprehend these things, cannot possibly comprehend, by any revelation whatever, why the Lord was born at Bethlehem. For from the most ancient time "Ephrath" signified the spiritual of the celestial, and therefore afterwards "Bethlehem" had the same signification. This then is the reason why the following is said in David:
He sware to Jehovah, he vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, If I shall come into the tent of my house, if I shall go upon the couch of my bed, if I shall give sleep to mine eyes, slumber to mine eyelids, until I find a place for Jehovah, habitations for the Mighty One of Jacob; lo we heard of Him in Ephrata, we found Him in the fields of the forest; we will go into His habitations, we will bow ourselves at His footstool (Ps. 132:2-7);
that these things were said of the Lord is very evident; "we heard of Him," and "we found Him," are expressed in the original language at the end of the words by the letter "h" taken from the name Jehovah.
[4] And in Micah:
Thou Bethlehem Ephrata, it is little that thou be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto Me who shall be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from the days of eternity (Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:6).
From these prophecies it was known to the Jewish people that the Messiah or Christ would be born at Bethlehem, as is evident in Matthew:
Herod, gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, inquired of them where the Christ (the Messiah) should be born; and they said to him, In Bethlehem of Judea (Matt. 2:4, 5).
And in John:
The Jews said, Doth not the Scripture say that the Christ (Messiah) should come of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the city where David was? (John 7:42).
And that He was born there may be seen in Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7. For this reason also, and because He was from David, the Lord is called a "rod out of the stock of Jesse," and the "root of Jesse" (Isa. 11:1, 10); for Jesse, David's father, was a Bethlehemite; and David was born at Bethlehem and was anointed king there (1 Sam. 16:1-14; 17:12). Hence Bethlehem was called "the city of David" (Luke 2:4, 11; John 7:42). By David is especially represented the Lord as to His royalty or the Divine truth (n. 1888).


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