79. In many places in the Prophets where the church is treated of, the understanding of the Word is treated of, and it is taught that there is no church except where the Word is rightly understood, and that such as is the understanding of the Word with those in the church, such is the church. In many places also in the Prophets the church with the Israelitish and Jewish nation is described as being totally destroyed and annihilated through their falsification of the meaning or understanding of the Word, for naught but this destroys the church.
 The understanding of the Word, both true and false, is described in the prophets by "Ephraim," especially in Hosea, for in the Word "Ephraim" signifies the understanding of the Word in the church. And as the understanding of the Word makes the church, Ephraim is called,
A dear son, and a child of delights (Jer. 31:20);
The firstborn (Jer. 31:9);
The strength of Jehovah's head (Ps. 60:7; 108:8);
Mighty (Zech. 10:7)
Filled with the bow (Zech. 9:13);
and the sons of Ephraim are called,
Armed, and shooters with the bow (Ps. 78:9).
The "bow" signifies doctrine from the Word fighting against falsities. Therefore also,
Ephraim was passed over to Israel's right hand, and was blessed; and was also accepted instead of Reuben (Gen. 48:5, 11-15).
Ephraim, together with his brother Manasseh (under the name of Joseph their father), was exalted above all by Moses when he blessed the sons of Israel (Deut. 33:13-17).
 The quality of the church when the understanding of the Word has been destroyed, is also described in the prophets by "Ephraim," especially in Hosea, as is evident from the following passages:
Israel and Ephraim shall stagger; Ephraim shall be in the solitude; Ephraim is oppressed and shattered in judgment. I will be unto Ephraim as a lion; I will tear and go away; I will carry off, and there shall be none to deliver (Hos. 5:5, 9, 11-14).
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? For thy holiness is as a cloud of the dawn, and like the dew that falleth in the morning, it goeth away (Hos. 6:4)
They shall not dwell in the land of Jehovah; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and shall eat in Assyria that which is unclean (Hos. 9:3).
 The "land of Jehovah" is the church; "Egypt" is the memory-knowledge [scientificum] of the natural man; "Assyria" is the derivative reasoning: by these two the Word is falsified in respect to the understanding of it, and therefore it is said that "Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and shall eat in Assyria that which is unclean."
Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind; every day he multiplieth lying and wasteness; he maketh a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried down into Egypt (Hos. 12:1).
To "feed on wind," to "follow after the east wind," and to "multiply lying and wasteness" is to falsify truths, and thus destroy the church.
 The like is signified also by the "whoredom" of Ephraim (for "whoredom" signifies the falsification of the understanding of the Word, that is, of its genuine truth) in the following passages:
I know Ephraim, that he hath altogether committed whoredom, and Israel is defiled (Hos. 5:3).
In the house of Israel I have seen a foul thing; there Ephraim hath committed whoredom, and Israel hath been defiled (Hos. 6:10).
"Israel" is the church itself, and "Ephraim" is the understanding of the Word, from and according to which is the church, and therefore it is said "Ephraim hath committed whoredom, and Israel hath been defiled."
 As the church among the Jews had been utterly destroyed through falsifications of the Word, it is said of Ephraim,
I will give thee up, Ephraim, I will deliver thee over, Israel, as Admah, and I will set thee as Zeboim (Hos. 11:8).
Now as the prophet Hosea, from the first chapter to the last, treats of the falsification of the Word, and of the destruction of the church thereby; and as the falsification of truth is there signified by "whoredom," therefore in order that he might represent this state of the church, that prophet was commanded to take unto himself a harlot for a woman, and of her to beget sons (chapter 1); and, a second time, to take a woman who was an adulteress (chapter 3).
 These passages have been adduced in order that it may be known and confirmed from the Word that such as is the understanding of the Word in the church, such is the church: excellent and precious if this understanding is from genuine truths of the Word, but ruined and even foul if it is from truths falsified. In confirmation of the truth that Ephraim signifies the understanding of the Word, and in the opposite sense the same falsified, and that the destruction of the church comes from this, the other passages in which Ephraim is treated of may be consulted,
As Hos. 4:17-18; 7:1, 11; 8:9, 11; 9:11-13, 16; 10:11; 11:3; 12:1, 8, 14; 13:1, 12; Isa. 17:3; 28:1; Jer. 4:15; 31:6, 18; 50:19; Ezek. 37:16; 48:5; Obad. 19; Zech. 9:10.