323. With sword and with hunger, and with death, and by the beasts of the earth, signifies by falsities of doctrine, by evils of life, by the love of the proprium, and by lusts. That by "a sword" is signified truth combating against evils and falsities, and destroying them, and in the opposite sense, falsity combating against goods and truths, and destroying them, may be seen above (n. 52, 108, 117). Here, therefore, by "sword," because the destruction of all the goods in the church is treated of, are signified falsities of doctrine. That "hunger" signifies evils of life, will be confirmed below. The reason why "death" signifies the love of man's proprium, is, because "death" signifies the extinction of spiritual life, and thence natural life separated from spiritual life (as above, n. 321), and this life is the life of the love of man's proprium; for from it man loves nothing but himself and the world, and thence also he loves all kinds of evils, which, from the love of that life, are delightful to him. That "beasts of the earth" signify lusts from that love, will be seen below (n. 567). Here something shall be said concerning the signification of "hunger." (1) "Hunger" signifies deprivation and rejection of the knowledges of truth and good arising from evils of life. (2) It also signifies ignorance of the knowledges of truth and good arising from a deficiency thereof in the church. (3) And it signifies likewise a desire to know and understand them.
 (1) That "hunger" signifies the deprivation and rejection of the knowledges of truth and good, arising from evils of life, and thence evils of life, may appear from the following passages:
They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, and their carcass shall be food for the birds of the heavens, and for the beasts of the earth (Jer. 16:4).
These two things shall come unto thee, devastation and breaking, and the famine and the sword (Isa. 51:19).
Behold, I will visit upon them; the young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine (Jer. 11:22).
Give his sons to famine, and make them to flow down at the hand of the sword; that the men may be killed by death (Jer. 18:21).
I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs that cannot be eaten, they are so evil, and I will pursue them with the sword, famine, and pestilence (Jer. 29:17-18).
I will send among them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, till they be consumed from off the land (Jer. 24:10).
I proclaim liberty for you, to the sword, to the famine, and to the pestilence, and I will give you for a commotion to all nations (Jer. 34:17).
Because thou hast polluted My sanctuary, a third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed, and a third part shall fall by the sword, when I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for destruction (Ezek. 6:11-12, 16-17).
The sword without, and the pestilence and famine within (Ezek. 7:15).
For all the evil abominations they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence (Ezek. 6:11-12).
I will send My four evil judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, the famine, and the evil beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast (Ezek. 14:13, 15, 21; besides other places, as Jer. 14:12-13, 15-16; 42:13-14, 16-18, 22; 44:12-13, 17; Matt. 24:7-8; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11).
The "sword," "famine," "pestilence," and "beast," in those passages, have a signification similar to that of "the sword," "hunger," "death," and "the beasts of the earth," here mentioned; for in the Word there is a spiritual sense in every single expression, in which sense "a sword" is the destruction of spiritual life by falsities; "hunger," the destruction of spiritual life by evils; "beasts of the earth," the destruction of spiritual life by cupidities of falsity and evil; and "pestilence" and "death" signify plenary consumption, and thus damnation.
 (2) That "hunger" signifies ignorance of the knowledges of truth and good arising from a deficiency of such knowledges in the church, is also evident from various passages in the Word (as from Isaiah 5:13; 8:19-22; Lamentations 2:19; 5:8-10; Amos 8:11-14; Job 5:17, 20; and other places).
(3) That "famine" or hunger signifies the desire of knowing and understanding the truths and goods of the church, is plain from the following: Isaiah 8:21; 32:6; 49:10; 58:6, 7; 1 Samuel 2:4, 5; Psalms 33:18, 19; 34:9, 10; 37:18, 19; 107:8, 9, 35-37; 146:7; Matt. 5:6; 25:35, 37, 44; Luke 1:53; John 6:35; and elsewhere.