6767. Sayest thou to kill me? That this signifies "wouldest thou destroy my faith?" is evident from the signification of "killing," as being to destroy (of which below); and from the signification of a "Hebrew man," here meant by "me," as being one who is of the church, thus also faith, for faith is of the church, and these two things are so united that he who destroys faith with anyone, destroys the church with him. This also is "killing" him, for he who takes away faith, takes away spiritual life, the life which remains being that which is called "death." Hence it is evident that by, "Sayest thou to kill me?" is signified "wouldest thou destroy my faith?"
 That "to kill" denotes to take away spiritual life, is clear from many passages in the Word, as in Jeremiah:
Drag them away as a sheep for the slaughter, and devote them for the day of killing. How long shall the land mourn and the herb of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? The beasts and the bird will be consumed (Jer. 12:3-4);
"the day of killing" denotes the time of the vastation of the church, when there is no longer any faith, because no charity; "the land which shall mourn" denotes the church; "the herb of every field" denotes every true memory-knowledge of the church; "the beasts and the bird will be consumed" denotes that goods and truths will be so. (That the "land" is the church, see n. 566, 662, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 2928, 3355, 4335, 4447, 5577; that "herb" is true memory-knowledge is evident from the passages in the Word where "herb" is mentioned; that "field" is that which is of the church, n. 2971, 3310, 3766; that "beasts" are affections of good, thus goods, n. 45, 46, 142, 143, 246, 714, 715, 719, 1823, 2179, 2180, 3218, 3519, 5198; and "birds" affections of truth, n. 5149.) Hence it can be seen what is the meaning of the above words, and also that there is a spiritual sense in every detail. Everyone can see that without an interior sense it could not be understood what is meant by "a day of killing," by "the earth mourning," by "every herb of the field withering for the wickedness of those who dwell therein," and by "the beasts and the bird being consumed."
 In Zechariah:
Thus said Jehovah my God, Feed the sheep of killing, which their possessors kill (Zech. 11:4-5);
where "the sheep of killing" plainly denotes those whose faith the possessors destroy. In Ezekiel:
Thou hast profaned Me with My people, for handfuls of barley, and for pieces of bread, to kill the souls which ought not to die, and to keep the souls alive which ought not to live (Ezek. 13:19);
here also "to kill" plainly denotes to destroy spiritual life, that is, faith and charity. In Isaiah:
What will ye do in the day of visitation and of vastation? Beneath the bound, and beneath the killed shall they fall (Isa. 10:3-4);
where the "killed" denote those who are in hell, thus who are in evils and falsities.
Thou art cast out of thy sepulchre like an abominable shoot, the raiment of the killed, of one pierced with the sword. Thou shalt not be united with them in the grave, because thou hast destroyed thy land, thou hast killed thy people (Isa. 14:19-20);
"the killed" denote those who are deprived of spiritual life; "thou hast killed thy people" denotes that he has destroyed the truths and goods of faith. In John:
The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they may have life (John 10:10);
"to kill" denotes to destroy the life of faith, and therefore it is said, "I am come that they may have life." In Mark:
The brother shall deliver the brother to death, and the father the children, and children shall rise up against their parents and shall kill them (Mark 13:12);
speaking of the last times of the church, when there is no longer any charity, and therefore not any faith; "brother," "children," and "parents," in the internal sense, are the goods and truths of the church, and "to kill" is to destroy them.
 As by "one killed" was signified one deprived of spiritual life, and by "field" the church, therefore it was a statute in the representative church, that
If anyone touched on the surface of a field anyone pierced with a sword, or killed, he should be unclean seven days (Num. 19:16);
that "one pierced with a sword" is truth extinguished by falsity, see above, n. 4503, for "sword" denotes falsity which extinguishes truth, n. 2799, 4499, 6353.
In like manner this was a statute: If anyone was found killed in the land of inheritance, upon a field, and it should not be known who had killed him, the elders and judges were to measure between the cities round about, and having thus found the nearest city, they were to take a calf and were to head it by a running stream; besides other particulars (Deut. 21:1-10).