(SS) - Teachings for the New Jerusalem on Sacred Scripture

SS 15

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15. In order that it may be seen that without the spiritual sense the prophetical parts of the Word of the Old Testament are in many passages not intelligible, I will adduce a few, such as the following in Isaiah:
Then shall Jehovah stir up a scourge against Asshur, according to the smiting of Midian at the rock of Oreb, and his rod shall be upon the sea, which he shall lift up in the way of Egypt. And it shall come to pass in that day that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck. He shall come against Aiath; he shall pass to Migron; against Michmash he shall command his arms; they shall pass over Mebara; Gebah shall be a lodging to us; Ramah shall tremble; Gibeah of Saul shall flee. Wail with thy voice O daughter of Gallim; hearken O Laish, O wretched Anathoth. Madmenah shall be a wanderer; the inhabitants of Gebim shall gather themselves together. Is there as yet a day to stand in Nob? The mountain of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem, shall shake her hand. Jehovah shall cut off the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a magnificent one (Isa. 10:26-32, 34).
Here we meet with mere names, from which nothing can be drawn except by the aid of the spiritual sense, in which all the names in the Word signify things of heaven and the church. From this sense it is gathered that these words signify that the whole church has been devastated by memory-knowledges [scientifica]* perverting all truth, and confirming falsity.
[2] In another place in the same prophet:
In that day the envy of Ephraim shall depart, and the enemies of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not straiten Ephraim; but they shall fly upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the sea, together shall they spoil the sons of the east, Edom and Moab shall be the putting forth of their hand. Jehovah shall utter a curse against the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and with the vehemence of His spirit He shall shake His hand over the river, and shall smite it into seven streams, so that He shall make a way [to pass over it] with shoes. Then shall there be a path for the remnant of his people, which remnant shall be from Asshur (Isa. 11:13-16).
Here also no one would see anything Divine except one who knows what is signified by the several names; and yet the subject treated of is the Lord's advent, and what shall then come to pass, as is plainly evident from verses 1 to 10. Who, therefore, without the aid of the spiritual sense, would see that by these things in their order is signified that they who are in falsities from ignorance, yet have not suffered themselves to be led astray by evils, will come to the Lord, and that the church will then understand the Word; and that falsities will then no longer harm them?
[3] The case is the same where there are not names, as in Ezekiel:
Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, Son of man, say unto the bird of every wing, and to every wild beast of the field, Assemble yourselves and come, gather yourselves from round about to My sacrifice which I sacrifice for you, a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood; ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth; ye shall eat fat to satiety, and drink blood to drunkenness, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. Ye shall be sated at my table with the horse and the chariot, with the mighty man, and with every man of war. Thus will I set my glory among the nations (Ezek. 39:17-21).
One who does not know from the spiritual sense what is signified by a sacrifice, by flesh and blood, by a horse, a chariot, a mighty man, and a man of war, would suppose that such things were to be eaten and drunk. But the spiritual sense teaches that to "eat the flesh and drink the blood of the sacrifice which the Lord Jehovih will offer upon the mountains of Israel" signifies to appropriate to one's self Divine good and Divine truth from the Word; for the subject treated of is the calling together of all to the Lord's kingdom, and, specifically, the setting up anew of the church by the Lord among the nations. Who cannot see that by "flesh" is not here meant flesh, nor blood by "blood"? As that people should drink blood to drunkenness, and that they should be sated with horse, chariot, mighty man, and every man of war. So in a thousand other passages in the prophets.
* Note the careful distinction made by Swedenborg between those knowledges that are merely in the external memory, and those which a man has some real knowledge of by experience or in some other way, and which are therefore not mere matters of memory. The former he calls "memory-knowledges" (scientiae or scientifica); the latter simply "knowledges" (cognitiones). This distinction runs all through these works, and must not be lost sight of, the recognition of it being vital to the understanding of important doctrines. [Translator]


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