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

SS 18

Remove Highlights | Highlight Search Terms


18. iii. From the spiritual sense it is that the Word is Divinely inspired, and is holy in every word. It is said in the church that the Word is holy, and this because Jehovah God spoke it; but as its holiness is not apparent from the letter alone, he who on this account once doubts its holiness, afterwards confirms his doubt when reading the Word by many things in it, for he then thinks, Can this be holy; can this be Divine? Therefore lest such a thought should flow in with many, and should afterwards prevail, and thereby the conjunction of the Lord with the church, in which is the Word, should perish, it has now pleased the Lord to reveal the spiritual sense, in order that it may be known where in the Word this holiness lies hid.
[2] This again may be illustrated by examples. The Word treats sometimes of Egypt, sometimes of Asshur, sometimes of Edom, of Moab, of the sons of Ammon, of Tyre and Sidon, of Gog; and one who does not know that these names signify things of heaven and the church may be led into the error that the Word treats much of nations and peoples, and but little of heaven and the church; thus much of earthly, and little of heavenly things. But when he knows what is signified by them, or by their names, he can come out of error into truth.
[3] And so when he sees in the Word such frequent mention of gardens, groves, and forests, and also of the trees in them, as the olive, vine, cedar, poplar, oak; and also such frequent mention of the lamb, sheep, goat, calf, ox; and likewise of mountains, hills, valleys, and the fountains, rivers, and waters in them, and many like things, one who knows nothing about the spiritual sense of the Word must believe that these things only are meant. For he is not aware that a garden, grove, and forest, mean wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge; that an olive, vine, cedar, poplar, and oak, mean the celestial, spiritual, rational, natural, and sensuous good and truth of the church; that a lamb, sheep, goat, calf, and ox mean innocence, charity, and natural affection; that mountains, hills, and valleys, mean higher, lower, and lowest things of the church; that Egypt signifies memory-knowledge,* Asshur reason, Edom the natural, Moab the adulteration of good, the sons of Ammon the adulteration of truth, Tyre and Sidon the knowledges of truth and good, and Gog external worship without internal. But when a man knows these things he is able to consider that the Word treats solely of heavenly things, and that these earthly things are merely the subjects [subjecta] in which the heavenly things are.
[4] But let this also be illustrated by an example from the Word. We read in David:
The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters; the God of glory maketh it to thunder; Jehovah is upon the great waters. The voice of Jehovah breaketh the cedars; yea, Jehovah breaketh in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He maketh them also to skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a son of unicorns. The voice of Jehovah cutteth out as a flame of fire. The voice of Jehovah maketh the wilderness to tremble; it maketh the wilderness of Kadesh to tremble. The voice of Jehovah maketh the hinds to be in travail, and layeth bare the forests; but in his temple everyone saith, Glory (Ps. 29:3-9).
He who is not aware that everything here, even as to every single word, is Divinely holy, may, if a merely natural man, say to himself, What is this - that Jehovah sitteth upon the waters, that by His voice He breaketh the cedars, maketh them skip like a calf, and Lebanon like a son of unicorns, and maketh the hinds to be in travail, and so on? For he knows not that in the spiritual sense the power of Divine truth, or of the Word, is described by these things.
[5] In this sense, the "voice of Jehovah," here called "thunder" means the Divine truth or Word in its power. The "great waters," upon which Jehovah sits, mean the truths of the Word. The "cedars," and "Lebanon," which He "breaks," and "breaks in pieces" mean the false things of the rational man. The "calf," and a "son of unicorns" mean the false things of the natural and of the sensuous man. The "flame of fire" means the affection of what is false. The "wilderness," and the "wilderness of Kadesh" mean the church in which there is not anything true and good. The "hinds" which the voice of Jehovah causes to be in travail, mean the nations who are in natural good. And the "forests" which He lays bare, mean the knowledges [scientiae et cognitiones]* which the Word opens to them. Therefore these words follow: "In his temple everyone saith, Glory," which mean that there are Divine truths in each and every thing of the Word. For the "temple" signifies the Lord, and therefore the Word, and also heaven and the church; and "glory" signifies Divine truth. From all this it is evident that there is not a word in this passage that is not descriptive of the Divine power of the Word against falsities of every kind in natural men, and of the Divine power in reforming the nations.
* 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]


User-Contributed Related Pages

Be the First to Find a Related Page!

Add a Related Page

Translate This Page

Add Small Canon Search to Your Website

Add a Small Canon Search™ button to my Google Toolbar

Add Small Canon Search™ to my Firefox Search Bar!

Add to Google

Daily Bible Verse

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Green Hosting

5 FREE Domains with Select Hosting Plans. Get yours!