5270. Shall be seven years of famine. That this signifies a lack and seeming privation of truth, is evident from the signification of a "famine" as being a lack of knowledges (see n. 1460, 3364), thus also a privation of truth; for that falsities banished truths so that it appeared as if they no longer existed, is signified by "the thin and evil kine did eat up the seven fat kine; and they came to their inwards, and it was not known that they had come to their inwards;" and also by "the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears" (verses 4, 7, 20, 21, 24; see n. 5206, 5207, 5217). The things here treated of, that in the beginning truth will be multiplied in both naturals, and that afterward it will so fail as scarcely to appear, is a secret no one can know unless it is given him to know how the case is with the reformation and regeneration of man. As this is the subject treated of in the internal sense of the following verses, a few words shall be said about it in advance.
 During his reformation a man first learns truths from the Word or from doctrine, and stores them up in the memory. When one who cannot be reformed has learnt truths and stored them up in the memory, he believes that this is sufficient; but he is much mistaken. The truths he has acquired must be initiated and conjoined with good; and this cannot be done so long as the evils of the love of self and the love of the world remain in the natural man. These loves were the first introducers, but the truths cannot possibly be conjoined with them; and therefore in order that conjunction may be effected, the truths introduced and retained by these loves must first be banished, though they are not really banished, but are drawn within so as not to appear, for which reason it is called a "seeming" privation of truth. When this has been done, the natural is illumined from within, and the evils of the love of self and the love of the world give way; and in the degree in which they give way truths are stored up, and are conjoined with good. The state when man is seemingly deprived of the truths is called in the Word "desolation," and is also compared to "evening," in which man is before he comes into the morning; and therefore in the representative church the day began from the evening.