6971. And hear not the voice of the former sign. That this signifies if they do not obey what is announced from the Word, that instead of spiritual and rational men they would become not spiritual and not rational, is evident from the signification of "hearing," as being to obey (see n. 2542, 3869, 5017); from the signification of a "voice," as being what is announced from the Word, of which below; and from the signification of "the former sign," as being that instead of spiritual and rational men they would become not spiritual and not rational. That this is so, is plain from the signification of the serpent which was made from the rod of Moses cast on the earth (which is here "the former sign"), as being the sensuous and corporeal man (n. 6949); thus the non-spiritual and non-rational man. For the man who is sensuous and corporeal is not rational, thus neither is he spiritual, for he thinks falsities and wills evils. He who does this is not rational, still less is he spiritual, for the acknowledgment and faith of truth, and the life of good, are the veriest spiritual in the rational, because these things are from the Divine; whereas the acknowledgment and faith of falsity and the life of evil are the contrary. (That merely sensuous and corporeal men are such, see n. 6844, 6845, 6948, 6949.)
 Those become merely sensuous and corporeal who have first known the things of the spiritual world and have afterward rejected them, and have imbued themselves with principles of falsity contrary to truths, and as to life have looked solely to worldly, bodily, and earthly things, and from this have believed that life ought to be enjoyed with every pleasure, saying, "What has man more while he lives? When we die we die; and who has ever come from another life to tell us about it? We know not what it is to live when life goes out of a man." If anyone by rational arguments sets them thinking at all about eternal life, they think that they shall not fare worse than others, and immediately relapse to the state of their former life. With such there is a closing of the passage for the light of heaven and its influx, and the light of heaven in their natural becomes like thick darkness, but the light of the world therein becomes brightness (see n. 6907), and the brightness is so much the more brilliant, as the light of heaven is more darkened; hence it is that such see no otherwise than that the evils of their life are goods, and that consequently the falsities are truths. It is from this then that a man becomes sensuous and corporeal. In a word, when a passage for the influx of the light of heaven has once been opened, and afterward is closed, the man is then driven to look downward, and not upward; and this from Divine order, lest the truths which he has once acknowledged, and which remain in his interior man, should be contaminated with falsities, and thus profaned.
 The case is the same with the Gentiles who recede from their religiosity; but their lot is better than the lot of those who are within the church, because they have no truths from the Word, consequently no genuine truths; but truths joined with many fallacies, which cannot be so much profaned. With regard to the signification of a "voice," as being what is announced from the Word, be it known that a "voice" is often spoken of, and is also joined to such things as have no relation to a voice, as here it is also joined to a sign; "if they do not hear the voice of the former sign, they will believe the voice of the latter sign;" and also in other passages:
The voice of the whip, and the voice of the sound of a wheel (Nah. 3:2).
The floods have lifted up their voice above the voices of many magnificent waters (Ps. 93:3-4).
 That a "voice" signifies annunciation, and in a good sense annunciation from the Word, which voice is called the "voice of Jehovah," is evident in David:
The voice of Jehovah is in power; the voice of Jehovah is in glory; the voice of Jehovah breaketh the cedars; the voice of Jehovah cutteth off the flames of fire; the voice of Jehovah maketh the wilderness to tremble; the voice of Jehovah maketh the hinds to calve; and strippeth the forests (Ps. 29:4-5, 7-9);
To Him that rideth upon the heaven of the heaven of old; lo He shall utter with His voice, a voice of strength (Ps. 68:33).
In these passages a "voice" denotes Divine truth, thus the Word, and annunciation from it. What a "voice" further signifies, see n. 219; and that "voice" is predicated of truth, n. 3563.)