(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 5376

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5376. Because the famine was strengthened in all the earth. That this signifies that everywhere, except there, was there desolation in the natural, is evident from the signification of "famine," as being desolation (of which above); and from the signification of "earth," as being the natural (of which also above). Its being everywhere except there, namely, in the memory-knowledges where the celestial of the spiritual was, follows from what goes before. How the case is with the desolation of the natural, or the deprivation of truth there, has already been told; but as the same subject is continued in what follows, it must be told again. The man who is born within the church, from earliest childhood learns from the Word and from the doctrinal things of the church what the truth of faith is, and also what the good of charity is. But when he grows up to manhood he begins either to confirm or to deny in himself the truths of faith that he has learned; for he then looks at these truths with his own sight, and thereby causes them either to be made his own or else to be rejected; for nothing can become one's own that is not acknowledged of one's own insight, that is, which the man does not know to be so from himself, and not from somebody else; and therefore the truths learned from childhood enter no further into the man's life than the first entrance, from which they can either be admitted more interiorly, or else be cast out.
[2] With those who are being regenerated, that is, who the Lord foresees will suffer themselves to be regenerated, these truths are greatly multiplied, for these persons are in the affection of knowing truths; but when they come nearer to the very act of regeneration, they are as it were deprived of these truths, for these are drawn inward, and then the man appears to be in desolation; nevertheless as regeneration goes on these truths are successively let back into the natural, and are there conjoined with good. But with those who are not being regenerated, that is, who the Lord foresees will not suffer themselves to be regenerated, truths are indeed usually multiplied, for these persons are in the affection of knowing such things for the sake of reputation, honor, and gain; yet when they advance in years and submit these truths to their own sight, they then either do not believe them, or they deny them, or they turn them into falsities; thus with them truths are not withdrawn inward, but are cast forth, although they still remain in the memory for the sake of ends in the world, though without life. This state also is called in the Word "desolation" or "vastation," but differs from the former state in the desolation of the former being apparent, while the desolation of this state is absolute; for in the former state man is not deprived of truths, while in this state he is entirely deprived of them. The desolation of the former state has been treated of in the internal sense in this chapter, and is still further treated of in the following one, and is what is signified by the "famine of seven years."
[3] This same desolation is often treated of in other parts of the Word, as in Isaiah:
Awake, awake, O Jerusalem, who hast drunk at the hand of Jehovah the cup of His anger; two things are befallen thee, who shall bemoan thee? Wasting and breaking, famine and the sword; how shall I comfort thee? Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets. Therefore hear, do this, thou afflicted and drunken one, but not with wine, behold I have taken out of thy hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of My wrath; thou shalt no more drink it again, but I will put it into the hand of them that make thee sad (Isa. 51:17-23);
in this passage is described the state of desolation in which is the man of the church who is becoming a church, or who is being regenerated. This desolation is called "wasting," "breaking," "famine," "sword," and also the "cup of the anger and wrath of Jehovah," and the "cup of trembling." The truths of which he is then deprived are the "sons who faint, and lie at the head of all the streets." That "sons" are truths may be seen above (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373), and that "streets" are where truths are (n. 2336); hence "to lie at the head of all the streets" means that truths appear to be dispersed. It is evident that this desolation is apparent, and that by it as by temptations regeneration is effected, for it is said that she "shall no more drink," but that "He will put the cup into the hand of them that make her sad."
[4] In Ezekiel:
Thus hath said the Lord Jehovih, Because they lay waste and swallow you up on every side, that ye be an inheritance unto the remains of the nations, therefore ye mountains of Israel hear the word of the Lord Jehovih: thus hath said the Lord Jehovih to the mountains and to the hills, to the watercourses and to the valleys, and to the desolate wastes and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the remains of the nations that are round about; I have spoken in My zeal and in My wrath, because ye have borne the reproach of the nations. Surely the nations that are round about you, these shall bear their reproach; but ye mountains of Israel shall put forth your branch and yield your fruit to My people Israel. For behold I am with you, and I will have regard unto you, that ye may be tilled and sown; and I will multiply man upon you, the whole house of Israel, and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes builded. I will cause you to dwell according to your times of old, and will do better to you than at your beginnings (Ezek. 36:3-12);
here also the subject treated of is the desolation that precedes regeneration, the desolation being signified by the "desolate wastes," and the "cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision"; but regeneration being signified by "putting forth branch and yielding fruit," by "having regard unto them that they may be tilled and sown, that man may be multiplied, the cities inhabited, and the wastes built," and by "causing them to dwell according to their times of old," and "doing better to them than at their beginning."
[5] How the case is in regard to desolation is plain from those who are in desolation in the other life. They who are in desolation there are harassed by evil spirits and genii, who pour in persuasions of evil and falsity until they are almost overwhelmed, the result being that truths do not appear; but as the time of desolation draws to a close they are enlightened by light from heaven, and in this way the evil spirits and genii are driven away, everyone into his own hell, where they undergo punishments. These are the things signified by "the cities becoming a prey and derision to the remains of the nations that are round about," and by "the nations that are round about bearing their reproach"; and above in Isaiah by "the cup being put into the hand of them that make her sad"; and also in other passages in Isaiah by the "waster being laid waste" (Isa. 33:1). Also in Jeremiah:
I will visit upon the wasters, and will make them everlasting desolations (Jer. 25:12).
In Isaiah:
Thy destroyers will hasten thy sons, and thy wasters shall go forth from thee. Lift up thine eyes round about and see; all gather together, they come to thee. For as to thy wastes and the land of thy destruction, thou shalt be too straitened for an inhabitant, they that swallow thee up shall be far away (Isa. 49:17-19);
[6] here again, and in this whole chapter, the subject treated of is the desolation of those who are being regenerated, and their regeneration and fruitfulness after desolation, and lastly the punishment of those who oppressed them (verse 26). In the same:
Woe to thee that layeth waste when thou art not laid waste! When thou hast ceased to lay waste, thou shalt be laid waste (Isa. 33:1);
meaning that they who vastate are punished, as above. In the same:
Let mine outcasts tarry in thee; Moab, be thou a covert to them before the waster; for the oppressor hath ceased, the wasting is ended (Isa. 16:4).
The day of Jehovah is near, it shall come as a wasting from Shaddai (Isa. 13:6);
"a wasting from Shaddai" denotes vastation in temptations; that God as to temptations was by the ancients called Shaddai, may be seen above (n. 1992, 3667, 4572).
[7] Again:
Then they shall not thirst; He shall lead them in wastes, He shall cause the waters to flow out of the rock for them; and He will cleave the rock that the waters flow out (Isa. 48:21);
speaking of the state after desolation. Again:
Jehovah will comfort Zion, He will comfort all the wastes thereof, so as to make the wilderness thereof as Eden, and the solitude thereof as the garden of Jehovah; gladness and joy shall be found therein, confession and the voice of a song (Isa. 51:3).
Where the subject treated of is the same, for as before said desolation is for the sake of the end that the man may be regenerated, that is, that after evils and falsities are separated, truths may be conjoined with goods, and goods with truths. The regenerate man as to good is what is compared to "Eden," and as to truths to the "garden of Jehovah." In David:
Jehovah hath made me come up out of the pit of devastation, out of the mire of clay, and hath set my feet upon a rock (Ps. 40:2).
[8] The vastation and desolation of the man of the church, or of the church in man, was represented by the captivity of the Jewish people in Babylon; and the raising up of the church by the return from that captivity, as occasionally described in Jeremiah, especially in chapter 32, verse 37 to the end; for desolation is captivity, the man then being kept as it were bound, and therefore by "those bound," "in prison," and "in the pit," are signified those who are in desolation (see n. 4728, 4744, 5037, 5038, 5085, 5096).
[9] The state of desolation and vastation with those who are not being regenerated is also occasionally treated of in the Word. In this state are they who deny truths, or turn them into falsities: this is the state of the church toward its end, when there is no longer any faith or charity. Thus in Isaiah:
I will make known to you what I will do to My vineyard, in removing the hedge thereof so that it shall be eaten up, in breaking through the fence thereof that it may be trodden down. I will then make it a desolation; it shall not be pruned nor hoed, that there may come up brier and shrub; nay, I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it (Isa. 5:5-6).
In the same:
Tell this people, Hearing hear ye, but understand not; and seeing see ye, but know not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and smear over their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and their heart should understand, and they should be converted, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he said, Until the cities be devastated that they be without inhabitant, and the houses that there be no man in them, and the land be reduced into a solitude; Jehovah will remove man. And the desert shall be multiplied in the midst of the land; scarcely a tenth part shall be in it any more, and yet it shall be banished (Isa. 6:9-13).
[10] In the same:
Remains shall return, the remains of Jacob, unto the mighty God; for a consummation is decreed, overflowing with righteousness; for a consummation and a decree shall the Lord Jehovih Zebaoth make in all the earth (Isa. 10:21-23).
Jehovah maketh the earth void, and maketh it empty, and will overturn the faces thereof. The earth shall be utterly void, the habitable earth shall mourn, shall be confounded, the world shall languish and be confounded, a curse shall devour the earth; the new wine shall mourn, the vine shall languish; that which is left in the city shall be a waste, the gate shall be smitten even to devastation; breaking, the earth is broken; breaking, the earth is broken in pieces; moving, the earth is moved; reeling, the earth reeleth like a drunkard (Isa. 24:1-23).
The paths are devastated, the wayfaring man ceaseth, the land mourneth and languisheth, Lebanon is ashamed and withered away, Sharon is become like a desert (Isa. 33:8-9).
I will make desolate and swallow up together, I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herb (Isa. 42:14-15).
[11] In Jeremiah:
I will give to the curse all the nations round about, and will make them a desolation, and a derision, and perpetual wastes; I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of the millstones and the light of the candle; that the whole land may be a desolation and a devastation. It shall come to pass when seventy years are fulfilled, that I will visit their iniquity upon the king of Babylon, and upon this nation, and upon the land of the Chaldees, and will make it everlasting desolations (Jer. 25:9-12 seq.).
Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall become perpetual wastes; Edom shall be a desolation, everyone that goeth by it shall be amazed, and shall hiss over all the plagues thereof (Jer. 49:13-18).
In Ezekiel:
Thus saith the Lord to the inhabitants of Jerusalem concerning the land of Israel, They shall eat their bread with solicitude, and drink their waters with amazement; that her land may be devastated from its fullness, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein; the cities that are inhabited shall be devastated, and the land shall be made desolate (Ezek. 12:19-20).
[12] Again:
When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall make the deep come up against thee, and many waters shall cover thee, and I shall make thee go down with them that descend into the pit, to the people of old time, and shall make thee to dwell in the earth of the lower things, for a desolation from eternity with them that go down into the pit (Ezek. 26:19-21);
speaking of Tyre. In Joel:
A day of darkness and of thick darkness, a day of cloud and of obscurity; a fire devoureth before him and behind him a flame burneth; the land is as the garden of Eden before him, but behind him a wilderness of waste (Joel 2:2-3).
In Zephaniah:
The day of Jehovah is near, a day of wrath is this day, a day of distress and of cramping, a day of wasteness and devastation, a day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of cloud and shade; the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of the zeal of Jehovah, for I will make a consummation, yea, a speedy one, with all the inhabitants of the land (Zeph. 1:14-18).
In Matthew:
When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, foretold by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, then let them that are in Judea flee into the mountains (Matt. 24:15-16; Mark 13:14; Dan. 9:27; 12:10-12).
From these passages it is evident that desolation is the apparent deprivation of truth with those who are being regenerated, but is the absolute deprivation of it with those who are not being regenerated.


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