(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 776

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776. That "every fowl after its kind" signifies every spiritual truth, "flying thing" natural truth, and "winged thing" sensuous truth, is evident from what has been stated and shown before concerning "birds" (as at n. 40). The most ancient people likened man's thoughts to birds, because relatively to the things of the will, thoughts are like birds. As mention is made here of "fowl" "flying thing" and "winged thing" and of these in succession, like things intellectual, rational, and sensuous in man, in order that no one may doubt that they signify these things, some passages from the Word may be adduced in confirmation, from which it will also be plain that "beasts" signify such things as have been stated.
[2] Thus in David:
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the fields, the fowl of the heaven, and the fish of the sea (Ps. 8:6-8).
This is said of the Lord, whose dominion over man, and over the things pertaining to man, is thus described. Otherwise what would be the dominion over "beasts" and "fowls?" Again:
Fruitful trees and all cedars, the wild animal and every beast, creeping things and flying fowl, let them praise the name of Jehovah (Ps. 148:9-10, 13).
The "fruitful tree" denotes the celestial man; the "cedar" the spiritual man. The "wild animal" and "beast" and "creeping thing" are their goods, as in the history before us; the "flying fowl" is their truths; from all of which they can "praise the name of Jehovah." By no means can the wild animal, the beast, the creeping thing, and the bird do this. In profane writings such things may be said by hyperbolism, but there are no hyperbolisms in the Word of the Lord, but things significative and representative.
[3] In Ezekiel:
The fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the wild animal of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at My presence (Ezek. 38:20).
That such things are here signified by "beasts" and "fowls" is very manifest; for how would it be to the glory of Jehovah if fishes, birds, and beasts should shake? Can anyone suppose that such sayings would be holy if they did not involve holy things? In Jeremiah:
I beheld, and lo there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled (Jer. 4:25),
denoting all good and truth; "man" also denotes here the good of love. Again: They are burned up, so that none passeth through, neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled, they are gone (Jer. 9:10),
denoting in like manner that all truth and good have departed.
[4] And again:
How long shall the land mourn, and the herb of every field wither? for the wickedness of them that dwell therein the beasts are consumed and the birds, because they said, He shall not see our latter end (Jer. 12:4).
Here the "beasts" denote goods, and the "birds" truths, which perished. In Zephaniah:
I will consume man and beast, I will consume the fowls of the heaven and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling-blocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the face of the ground (Zeph. 1:3).
Here "man and beast" denote the things which are of love and of its good; the "fowls of the heaven and the fishes of the sea" the things which are of the understanding, thus which are of truth. These are called "stumbling-blocks" because goods and truths are stumbling-blocks to the wicked, but not beasts and birds; and they are also plainly spoken of "man." In David:
The trees of Jehovah are satisfied, the cedars of Lebanon which He hath planted, where the birds make their nests (Ps. 104:16-17).
The "trees of Jehovah" and the "cedars of Lebanon" denote the spiritual man; the "birds" his rational or natural truths, which are as "nests."
[5] It was moreover a common form of expression that "birds would make their nests in the branches" signifying truths, as in Ezekiel:
In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it, and it shall lift up its bough, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar; and under it shall dwell every bird of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell (Ezek. 17:23),
denoting the Church of the Gentiles, which was spiritual. This is "the goodly cedar;" the "bird of every wing" denotes truths of every kind. Again: All the birds of the heavens made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches all the wild animals of the field brought forth, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations (Ezek. 31:6).
This is said of Asshur, which is the spiritual church and is called a "cedar;" the " birds of the heavens" denote its truths; the "beasts" its goods. In Daniel:
The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and it was meat for all; the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of heaven dwelt in the branches thereof (Dan. 4:12, 21).
Here the "beasts" denote goods, the "fowls of the heavens" truths, as must be evident to everyone; for otherwise of what concern is it that the bird and the beasts dwelt there? And it is the same with what the Lord says:
The kingdom of God is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and cast into his garden, and it grew, and became a tree, and the birds of the heaven lodged in the branches thereof (Luke 13:19; Matt. 13:31, 32; Mark 4:31, 32).


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