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This is the extended annotated edition including a very detailed biography about Swedenborg, his life and his writings. This is an exposition of the internal or spiritual sense of the books of Genesis and Exodus, according to the law of correspondences. It unfolds the spiritual significance of the creation; of the stories of Adam and Eve, and of the deluge; of the lives of the patriarchs; of the captivity of the chosen people in Egypt and of their deliverance therefrom, and of their subsequent history; of the ritual of the Jewish religion, its sacrifices and observances:—and in general, traces the foreshadowing through both books of the incarnation and glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many passages from other parts of the Word are also fully explained. Relations of things heard and seen in the spiritual world are interspersed, explaining the process of dying, and of man's resuscitation and conscious entrance into the interior life; the nature of the soul; of heaven and heavenly joy;and of hell, its nature and its miseries. It also treats of the Grand Man, or the whole angelic heaven, and the correspondence of the societies therein with the different organs and senses of the body; the origin and correspondence of diseases; the spirits and inhabitants of the various planets, and of other earths in the starry heavens. All of which are related to a true understanding of the Divine Word. This is book #6 out of 12 and covers Genesis 32 - 38.
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Arcana Coelestia (Heavenly Arcana)
Volume 6: Genesis 32 - 38
Emanuel Swedenborg – A Biographical Primer
Arcana Coelestia, Volume 6
Arcana Coelestia, Vol. 6, E. Swedenborg
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
By Thomas Hitchcock
Swedish philosopher, born in Stockholm, Jan. 29, 1688, died in London, England, March 29, 1772. He was the son of Jesper Swedberg, bishop of Skara, the name being changed to Swedenborg in 1719 on the occasion of the ennobling of the family. This advancement entitled him, as head of the family, to a seat in the house of nobles of the Swedish diet, but did not confer the title of baron, as has been supposed. Emanuel was educated at Upsal, completing his studies in 1709. After two years of travel in England, Holland, and France, he went to reside at Greifswald in Pomerania, then a Swedish town, and busied himself with scientific research. He also wrote some Latin fables, which were published under the title of Camena Borea. A collection of Latin poems, written by him during his travels, was also published about the same time in a volume entitled Ludus Heliconius. In 1716 he returned to Sweden and established a periodical called Dædalus Hyperboreus, devoted to mathematics and mechanics, which appeared irregularly for two years. During this time he had become intimate with Christopher Polhem, an eminent engineer, and Polhem introduced him to Charles XII., who appointed him assessor extraordinary of the college of mines, and associate engineer with Polhem. For two years Swedenborg maintained close personal relations with the king, and assisted him much in his military operations. During the siege of Frederickshald, at which Charles met his death, Swedenborg constructed, under Polhem's direction, the machines by which several vessels were transported overland from Strömstad to the Iddefiord, 14 miles. At the king's suggestion, it is said, Polhem betrothed his daughter to Swedenborg; but as the young lady preferred another man, Swedenborg relinquished his claim and never married. From 1717 to 1722 he published pamphlets on scientific subjects; among them one describing a method of determining longitude by means of the moon. In 1721 he made a short tour on the continent, visiting mines and smelting works. On his return in 1722 he was promoted to be full assessor of mines, and for the next 12 years he devoted himself to the duties of that office, refusing the professorship of mathematics at Upsal in 1724. In 1734 he published Opera Philosophica et Mineralia in three large folio volumes, illustrated with numerous plates, viz.: vol. i., Principia; vol. ii., De Ferro; vol. iii., De Cupro et Orichalco. In the same year also appeared his Prodromus de Infinito. In 1736 he began another tour of travel, which, with study and writing, occupied him for several years. In 1740-'41 he published his Œconomia Regni Animalis, in two parts, and in 1744-'5 his Regnum Animale, in three parts. Between 1729 and 1741 he was elected successively a member of the academy of sciences at Upsal, corresponding member of the imperial academy of sciences at St. Petersburg, and member of the academy of sciences at Stockholm. His series of scientific publications ended in 1745 with the treatise De Cultu et Amore Dei, &c., in which is set forth, under the form of a prose poem or allegory, his theory of the process of creation. Thereafter, as he says, he was called by God to the work of revealing to men a new system of religious truth. For that end he was permitted to converse with spirits and angels, and behold the wonders of the spiritual world. That he might be more free to perform his task, he resigned his assessorship, retaining half the salary by way of pension. He devoted himself first to the study of the Bible in the original, and then to the writing of books explanatory of his new doctrines, which were published entirely at his own expense. From 1749 to 1756 appeared the Arcana Cœlestia (8 vols. 4to), containing a commentary on Genesis and Exodus, interspersed with accounts of “wonderful things seen and heard in heaven and in hell.” This was followed in 1758 by the De Cœlo et Inferno, De Telluribus in Mundo, De Ultimo Judicio, De Nova Hierosolyma, and De Equo Albo. In 1763 were published the four doctrinal treatises: Doctrina Vitæ, De Fide, De Domino, and De Scriptura Sacra, with a Continuatio de Ultimo Judicio, and the treatise De Divino Amore et de Divina Sapientia. In 1764, the Divina Providentia appeared; in 1766, the Apocalypsis Revelata; in 1768, De Amore Conjugiali; in 1769, Summaria Expositio Doctrinæ and De Commercio Animæ et Corporis; and in 1771, the Vera Christiana Religio. Besides these, he left at his death an immense mass of manuscripts, of which the following have been since printed: Itinerarium, Clavis Hieroglyphica, Opuscula, Apocalypsis Explicata, Adversaria in Libros Veteris Testamenti, Diarium Spirituale, Index Biblicus, Sensus Internus Prophetarum et Psalmorum, Dicta Probantia, De Athanasio Symbolo, De Charitate, Canones, Coronis Veræ Christianæ Religionis, and Invitatio ad Novam Ecclesiam. Copies of a few of these manuscripts have recently been reproduced by the photolithographic process, by subscription, not so much for circulation as for the sake of preserving the contents of the originals from destruction by decay. — Swedenborg's manner of life was simple and modest. He spent much of his time, in later years, in Holland and England, for which countries he expressed great admiration on account of the freedom of speech and writing permitted there. He made no efforts to gain proselytes to his doctrines further than by printing and distributing his writings, and never referred to his intercourse with the spiritual world except when questioned. Several instances are reported of his obtaining information from departed souls respecting affairs unknown even to their families, and describing events in distant places in advance of news by the ordinary means of communication. It is related that, as he lay on his deathbed in London, Ferelius, a Swedish clergyman, solemnly adjured him to tell the truth in regard to his teachings. Swedenborg raised himself half upright in bed, and placing his hand on his breast said with emphasis: “As true as you see me before you, so true is everything I have written. I could have said more had I been permitted. When you come into eternity, you will see all things as I have stated and described them, and we shall have much to say concerning them to each other.” He then received the holy supper from Ferelius, and presented him with a copy of his Arcana Cœlestia. A day or two afterward he peacefully breathed his last. His body was buried in a vault of the Swedish church in Prince's square, a little east of the tower. A eulogium was pronounced upon him in the Swedish house of nobles in October, 1772, by Samuel Sandels, which accords him high praise, not merely for learning and talent, but also for uprightness and fidelity in the discharge of his duties as a public functionary. Several of his acquaintances have also left written testimony to his virtuous character. — Swedenborg's scientific works have long since ceased to be of practical value, but are still highly interesting as collections of facts, and as exhibiting their author's peculiar method of philosophizing. The system he followed was substantially that of Descartes, of whom he continued to the end of his life to speak with admiration, and this led him to conclusions resembling in some striking points those of Spinoza, who was likewise a Cartesian. His “Economy of the Animal Kingdom” is the best of his many productions anterior to his theological career. In it he attempts to deduce a knowledge of the soul from an anatomical and physiological knowledge of the body, and evolves many doctrines which he afterward elaborated in his theological works. Indeed, some of his disciples hold that his seership was the natural result of his intellectual and moral development, and by no means an abnormal condition of mind. According to his own account, it came upon him gradually, and neither astonished nor alarmed him, although in its early stages he was subject to great mental excitement, the phenomena of which may have given rise to exaggerated stories of his insanity. The works written by him subsequent to this change in his mind are quite as systematic and coherent as his earlier productions, and only his claim to a divine mission, and his frequent descriptions of what he saw and heard in the spiritual world, mark them as peculiar. They are consistent from first to last, and though they appeared at intervals during a period of 27 years, they nowhere deviate from the fundamental principles laid down at the outset. — The general features of Swedenborg's theology are presented in his treatise called the “True Christian Religion.” He teaches that God is one in essence and in person, and has been revealed to men as the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Lord is a trinity, not of persons but of principles, and it is these principles which are spoken of in the Scriptures as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father is the divine love, the Son the divine wisdom, and the Holy Ghost the divine operation or energy acting upon the universe. The Lord is infinite, eternal, self-existent, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, and not only the creator but the sustainer of all creation, which without him would cease to exist. For the sake of redeeming mankind he assumed a natural body born of the Virgin Mary, and glorified it or made it divine, so that it is now invisible to men, and also usually to the angels except as the sun of heaven. Redemption consisted, not in suffering vicariously the punishment of men's sins (for that could not be done, and, if it could, would be useless), but in actual combats, by means of the assumed humanity, with the powers of hell, and overcoming them. This victory restored to man spiritual freedom, which had begun to be impaired by diabolic possessions as narrated in the Gospels, and enabled him to work out his salvation. This he does by looking to the Lord, with faith in him, by repentance, and above all by a life according to the commandments of the decalogue. The chief points that Swedenborg insists on in religion are faith in the Lord and the avoidance of evils as sins against him. Upon everything else, such as outward worship, prayer and meditation, and works of eleemosynary charity, he lays but little stress. The essence of charity is love to the neighbor and occupation in some useful employment. The Word, he says, is the divine truth itself, written to reveal the Lord to man and to serve as a medium of conjunction between earth and heaven. This Word consists of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, the Psalms, the prophecies, the four Gospels, and the Apocalypse. The other books bound up with these in our Bibles are not the Word, although good and useful to the church. The distinction between the two consists in this: that the Word contains an internal or spiritual sense, which the rest of the Bible has not. This spiritual sense is symbolical, and may be discerned by the application of the law of symbolism resulting from the universal correspondence of natural with spiritual things. Thus, the garden of Eden and all things mentioned as existing in it symbolize the human soul and its affections and thoughts; and the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the alienation of mankind at a remote period from their original state of innocence. Hence, too, the decalogue forbids not merely outward sins, but the inward spiritual sins corresponding to them, and the Psalms and prophecies relate not merely to David and the Jews, but to experiences of the human soul independent of dates and localities. At the same time the literal sense alone can be relied on as a basis of doctrine, and Swedenborg is careful to cite it profusely in support of his teachings. The reason he gives for his mission is that the knowledge of true doctrine had been lost and the church destroyed by a false theology and accompanying evils of life. By the promulgation of the truth revealed to him a new church has been established by the Lord, and thus the prophecies in the Apocalypse of the descent of the New Jerusalem have been fulfilled in their symbolical sense. The second coming of the Lord, predicted in Matt, xxiv., has also been accomplished in the same way, a last judgment having been effected in the spiritual world in the year 1757, so that we are now living under a new dispensation. The treatise on “Heaven and Hell” embodies Swedenborg's teachings on the nature of those two realms, and their relations to this world. They exist, he says, not in some other region of space, but within the natural world, as the soul of man exists within his body, being in fact in the souls of men and resting in them as our souls rest in our bodies. At death the body, which is the material envelope of the soul, is cast aside, never to be resumed, and consequently its resurrection is not to be looked for. The soul is the man himself, and is a perfect human being, with a spiritual body of its own, and rises into a conscious perception of the spiritual world, of which the man had previously been unconsciously an inhabitant. He sees and feels and possesses all the other senses, and retains all his personal characteristics. After a longer or shorter preparation in an intermediate state called the world of spirits, which lies between heaven and hell, he is drawn by his own elective affinity to the place where he belongs, and remains there to eternity. Both heaven and hell consist of innumerable societies, each composed of human beings of similar and concordant affections; and both are divided into three distinct regions, according to the degrees of perfection or depravity of their inhabitants. The Arcana Cœlestia, Swedenborg's largest work, is mainly an exposition of the internal or symbolical sense of Genesis and Exodus, with accounts of his experiences in the spiritual world, and various doctrinal teachings interspersed between the chapters. “The Apocalypse Revealed” and “The Apocalypse Explained” are similar expositions of the Apocalypse. In his “Conjugial Love” Swedenborg expounds his doctrine of the relations of the sexes. Males, he says, are masculine and females feminine in soul as well as in body. The masculine element is love clothed with wisdom, while the feminine is wisdom clothed with love. Hence the characteristic of man is wisdom or understanding, and that of woman love or affection. Marriage is the conjunction of two souls who complement each other, and by their union make one complete being, just as the will and the understanding make the individual. Hence the only true marriage is of one man and one woman, and it exists in the next world as well as in this. Polygamy is a degraded state, but not a sin with those whose religion permits it; but adultery is destructive of the life of the soul, and closes heaven against those who confirm themselves in it. The treatises on the “Divine Love and Wisdom” and the “Divine Providence” embody Swedenborg's spiritual philosophy, and exhibit the symmetrical relations of the various parts of his religious system. Love, he says, is the life of man. God alone is Love itself and Life itself, and angels and men are but recipients of life from him. He is very Man, and our humanity is derived from him, so that it is literally true that we are created in his image and likeness. His infinite love clothes itself with infinite wisdom and manifests itself in ceaseless operation, producing, maintaining, and reproducing the boundless universe, with all its innumerable parts and inhabitants. In like manner men, being made in the image of God, also have love or the will, and wisdom or the understanding, and the two produce in them their finite operation. It being the nature of love to desire objects upon which to exercise itself, God could not but create the universe. The creation of this and other solar systems, all of which are inhabited, was effected by a spiritual sun, which is the first emanation proceeding from God, and which is seen in the spiritual world as our sun is seen by us. By means of this spiritual sun natural suns were created, and from them atmospheres, waters, earths, plants, animals, and finally man. Angels, spirits, and devils are men who have been born and died on this or some similar planet. Hence, all things were created from God, and not out of nothing. The spiritual world is related to the natural as cause is to effect, and the supreme first cause of all is God himself. These three, end, cause, and effect, constitute three distinct or discrete degrees, which are repeated in various forms in all created things, and on a grand scale in the universe as a whole. Creation, being from God, is, like the individual man, an image of him, and hence is in the human form in its greatest and least parts, and with more or less approximation to perfection. As we are finitely men, because God is an infinite Man, so all animals, plants, and even minerals wear a resemblance to man, and throughout all nature there is an incessant effort to evolve the human form. In the sight of God and the angels, larger and smaller bodies of human beings and the societies of heaven and hell appear organized like men, and Swedenborg calls the universe the Grand Man (Maximus Homo). As infinite love was the end and infinite wisdom the cause of creation, so the divine life and power are constantly active in sustaining and directing it. This activity is the Divine Providence, and it reaches to every smallest particular of nature and humanity. Man has freedom, because without it he could not be an adequate recipient of the divine love, and by the abuse of his freedom he has introduced evil into the world. The Divine Providence seeks, without destroying this freedom, to lead man back to his original integrity. Hence all the wonderful dealings of God with man recorded in the Scriptures; hence the incarnation; and hence the various forms of religion which exist in the world, all of which embody more or less the essentials of salvation, namely, the worship of God and abstinence from evils as sins against him. The smaller treatises of Swedenborg are mostly extracts from his larger works, with amplifications and additions. — The fullest account of him and his writings is that of William White (2 vols., London, 1867, since republished in one volume). See, also, “Documents concerning Swedenborg,” by R. L. Tafel (London, 1875 et seq.). All of his theological and some of his scientific works have been translated into English. The theological works have also been reprinted in Latin by Dr. J. F. I. Tafel, of Tübingen, Germany, and partially translated and published in French, German, Italian, Danish, and Swedish. Societies for promoting their circulation are in operation both in the United States and in Europe. The principal writers who have undertaken the exposition of Swedenborg's doctrines in England are John Clowes, Robert Hindmarsh, C. A. Tulk, Samuel Noble, J. J. G. Wilkinson, and Jonathan Bayley; in France, E. Richer and J. F. Les Boys-des-Guays; and in the United States, George Bush, Theophilus Parsons, E. H. Sears, Henry James, B. F. Barrett, W. B. Hayden, and Chauncey Giles. For an account of the ecclesiastical organization based upon Swedenborg's doctrines.
In volume 3 a commencement was made with the explication of the Lord's predictions in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew concerning the Last Judgment, the explication being prefixed to the last chapters of that volume, and being continued as far as the thirty-first verse of the chapter in the Evangelist just referred to (see n. 3353-3356, 3486-3489, 3650-3655, 3897-3901, 4056-4060). The internal sense in a summary of these predictions of the Lord plainly appears from the explications already given, namely, that prediction is there made concerning the successive vastation of the church, and the ultimate setting up of a New Church, in the following order: 1. That the members of the church would begin not to know what good and truth are, and would dispute about them. 2. That they would hold them in contempt. 3. That at heart they would not acknowledge them. 4. That they would profane them. 5. And because the truth of faith and the good of charity would still remain with some, who are called the "elect," a description is given of the state of the faith as it then existed. 6. Next of the state of the charity. 7. And finally the commencement of a New Church is treated of, which is meant by the words that were last explained: He shall send forth His angels with a trumpet and a great voice, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the end of the heavens even to the end thereof (Matt. 24:31), by which is meant the commencement of a New Church (see n. 4060e).
When the end of an old church and the beginning of a new church is at hand, then is the Last Judgment. This is the time that is meant in the Word by the "Last Judgment" (see n. 2117-2133, 3353, 4057), and also by the "coming of the Son of man." It is this very Coming that is now the subject before us, as referred to in the question addressed to the Lord by the disciples: Tell us when shall these things be, especially what is the sign of Thy coming, and of the consummation of the age? (Matt. 24:3). It remains therefore to unfold the things predicted by the Lord concerning this very time of His Coming and of the Consummation of the age which is the Last Judgment; but in the preface to this chapter only those contained in verses 32 to 35: Now learn a parable from the fig-tree. When her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh. So also ye, when ye see all these things, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away till all these things be accomplished. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matt. 24:32-35). The internal sense of these words is as follows.
Now learn a parable from the fig-tree. When her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh; signifies the first of a new church; the "fig-tree" is the good of the natural; her "branch" is the affection of this; and the "leaves" are truths. The "parable from which they should learn" is that these things are signified. He who is not acquainted with the internal sense of the Word, cannot possibly know what is involved in the comparison of the Lord's coming to a fig-tree and its branch and leaves; but as all the comparisons in the Word are also significative (n. 3579), it may be known from this signification what is meant. A "fig-tree" wherever mentioned in the Word signifies in the internal sense the good of the natural (n. 217); that her "branch" is the affection of this, is because affection springs forth from good as a branch from its trunk; and that "leaves" are truths may be seen above (n. 885). From all this it is now evident what the parable involves, namely, that when a new church is being created by the Lord, there then appears first of all the good of the natural, that is, good in the external form together with its affection and truths. By the good of the natural is not meant the good into which man is born, or which he derives from his parents, but a good which is spiritual in respect to its origin. Into this no one is born, but is led into it by the Lord through the knowledges of good and truth. Therefore until a man is in this good (that is, in spiritual good), he is not a man of the church, however much from a good that is born with him he may appear to be so. So also ye, when ye see all these things, know that it is nigh, even at the doors; signifies that when those things appear which are signified in the internal sense by the words spoken just before (verses 29-31), and by these concerning the fig-tree, then it is the consummation of the church, that is, the Last Judgment, and the Coming of the Lord; consequently that the old church is then being rejected, and a new one is being set up. It is said, "at the doors," because the good of the natural and its truths are the first things which are insinuated into a man when he is being regenerated and is becoming the church. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished; signifies that the Jewish nation shall not be extirpated like other nations, for the reason shown above (n. 3479). Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away; signifies that the internals and the externals of the former church would perish, but that the Word of the Lord would abide. (That "heaven" is the internal of the church, and "earth" its external, may be seen above, n. 82, 1411, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355e). By the Lord's "words" are plainly meant not only these now spoken respecting His coming and the consummation of the age, but also all that are in the Word. These words were said immediately after what was said about the Jewish nation, because that nation was preserved for the sake of the Word, as may be seen from the number already cited (n. 3479). From all this it is now evident that the beginnings of a New Church are here foretold. GENESIS 32 1. And Jacob went to his way, and the angels of God ran to meet him. 2. And Jacob said when he saw them, This is the camp of God; and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. 3. And Jacob sent messengers before him, to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the field of Edom. 4. And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau: Thus saith thy servant Jacob, I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried until now. 5. And I had ox and ass, flock and manservant and handmaid; and I send to tell my lord, to find grace in thine eyes. 6. And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother, to Esau, and moreover he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. 7. And Jacob feared exceedingly, and was distressed; and he halved the people that was with him, and the flock, and the herd, and the camels, into two camps. 8. And he said, If Esau come to the one camp, and smite it, then there will be a camp left for escape. 9. And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, O Jehovah, that saith unto me, Return unto thy land, and to thy birth, and I will do well with thee; 10. I am less than all the mercies, and all the truth, which Thou hast done with Thy servant; for in my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am in two camps. 11. Rescue me I pray from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, lest he come and smite me, the mother upon the sons. 12. And Thou saidst, I will surely do well with thee, and I will make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which is not numbered for multitude. 13. And he passed the night there in that night, and he took of that which came into his hand a present for Esau his brother: 14. Two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams: 15. Thirty milch camels and their colts, forty heifers and ten bullocks, twenty she-asses and ten foals. 16. And he gave into the hand of his servants each drove by itself; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space between drove and drove. 17. And he commanded the first, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee? 18. Then thou shalt say, Thy servant Jacob's; this is a present sent unto my lord Esau; and behold he also is behind us. 19. And he commanded also the second, and the third, and all that went after the droves, saying, According to this word shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him. 20. And ye shall also say, Behold thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will expiate his faces in a present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his faces; peradventure he will lift up my faces. 21. And the present passed over before him, and he passed the night in that night in the camp. 22. And he rose up in that night, and took his two women, and his two handmaids, and his eleven sons, and passed over the passage of Jabbok. 23. And he took them, and caused them to pass the river, and caused to pass what he had. 24. And Jacob remained alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the dawn arose. 25. And he saw that he prevailed not over him, and he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint in his wrestling with him. 26. And he said, Let me go, for the dawn ariseth. And he said, I will not let thee go, unless thou bless me. 27. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28. And he said, Thy name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou contended with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29. And Jacob asked and said, Tell I pray thy name. And he said, Wherefore is this that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 30. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel; for I have seen God faces to faces, and my soul is delivered. 31. And the sun arose to him as he passed over Penuel, and he halted upon his thigh. 32. Therefore the sons of Israel eat not the nerve of that which was displaced, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, even unto this day, because he touched in the hollow of Jacob's thigh the nerve of that which was displaced.
THE CONTENTS. The subject here treated of in the internal sense is the inversion of state in the natural, in order that good may be in the first place, and truth in the second. The implantation of truth in good is treated of (verses 1 to 23); and the wrestlings of the temptations which are then to be sustained (verses 24 to 32). At the same time the Jewish nation is also treated of, because although that nation could receive nothing of the church, it nevertheless represented the things of the church.
THE INTERNAL SENSE. Verses 1, 2. And Jacob went to his way, and the angels of God ran to meet him. And Jacob said when he saw them, This is the camp of God; and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. "And Jacob went to his way," signifies the successive advance of truth toward its conjunction with spiritual and celestial good; "and the angels of God ran to meet him," signifies enlightenment from good; "and Jacob said when he saw them, This is the camp of God," signifies heaven; "and he called the name of that place Mahanaim," signifies the quality of the state.
And Jacob went to his way. That this signifies the successive advance of truth toward its conjunction with spiritual and celestial good, is evident from the representation of Jacob, as being here the truth of the natural. What Jacob represented has been already stated, namely, the Lord's natural; and as where Jacob is treated of in the historical narrative, in the internal sense the Lord is treated of, and how He made His natural Divine, therefore Jacob first represented the truth in that natural, and then the truth to which was adjoined the collateral good which was "Laban;" and after the Lord had adjoined this good, Jacob represented it; but such good is not the good Divine in the natural, but is a mediate good by means of which the Lord could receive good Divine; and this mediate good was the good that Jacob represented when he withdrew from Laban. Nevertheless in itself this good is truth which from its mediate character possesses the capacity of conjoining itself with the good Divine in the natural. Such then is the truth that Jacob now represents. But the good with which this truth was to be conjoined is represented by Esau. (That Esau is the Divine good of the Lord's Divine natural, may be seen above, n. 3300, 3302, 3494, 3504, 3527, 3576, 3599, 3669, 3677.) It is this very conjunction of truth Divine with the good Divine of the Lord's Divine natural, that is now treated of in the supreme sense. For after Jacob withdrew from Laban and came to the Jordan, thus to the first entrance into the land of Canaan, he advances into the representation of this conjunction; for in the internal sense the land of Canaan signifies heaven, and in the supreme sense the Lord's Divine Human (n. 3038, 3705). It is for this reason that by the words, "and Jacob went to his way," is signified the successive advance of truth toward conjunction with spiritual and celestial good. But these things are of such a nature as to prevent their being fully set forth to the apprehension; the cause of which is that the most general things of this subject are unknown in the learned world, even among Christians. For it is scarcely known what the natural in man is, and what the rational, and that these are altogether distinct from each other; and scarcely even what spiritual truth is, and what its good, and that these also are most distinct from each other. Still less is it known that when man is being regenerated, truth is conjoined with good, in one distinct way in the natural, and in another distinct way in the rational, and this by innumerable means. It is not even known that the Lord made His Human Divine according to the same order as that in which He regenerates man. Since therefore these most general things are unknown, it must needs be that whatever is said about them will appear obscure. Nevertheless they have to be stated, because otherwise the Word cannot be unfolded as to its internal sense. At the very least this may be the means of showing how great angelic wisdom is, and also of what kind it is, for the internal sense of the Word is chiefly for the angels.
And the angels of God ran to meet him. That this signifies enlightenment from good, is evident from the signification of the "angels of God," as being something of the Lord; here, the Divine which was in the Lord; for in the Lord was the Divine Itself which is called the "Father." The very essence of life (which in man is called the soul) was therefrom, and was Himself. This Divine is what is called in common speech the Divine nature, or rather the Lord's Divine essence. (That something of the Divine of the Lord is signified in the Word by the "angels of God," may be seen above, n. 1925, 2319, 2821, 3039, 4085.) By "the angels of God running to meet him" is signified in the proximate sense the influx of the Divine into the natural, and the consequent enlightenment; for all enlightenment is from the influx of the Divine. As the subject treated of is the inversion of state in the Lord's natural, in order that good might be in the first place, and truth in the second; and as the subject treated of in this first part of the chapter is the implantation of truth in good therein (n. 4232), and as this could not be effected without enlightenment from the Divine, therefore the first thing treated of is the enlightenment effected by the good into which truth was to be implanted.
And Jacob said when he saw them, This is the camp of God. That this signifies heaven, is because the "camp of God" signifies heaven, for the reason that an "army" signifies truths and goods (n. 3448), and truths and goods are marshaled by the Lord in heavenly order; hence an "encamping" denotes a marshalling by armies; and the heavenly order itself which is heaven, is the "camp." This "camp" or order is of such a nature that hell cannot possibly break in upon it, although it is in the constant endeavor to do so. Hence also this order, or heaven, is called a "camp," and the truths and goods (that is, the angels) who are marshaled in this order, are called "armies." This shows whence it is that the "camp of God" signifies heaven. It is this very order, and thus heaven itself, which was represented by the encampments of the sons of Israel in the wilderness; and their dwelling together in the wilderness according to their tribes was called the "camp." The tabernacle in the midst, and around which they encamped, represented the Lord Himself. That the sons of Israel encamped in this manner, may be seen in Numbers 1 and 33:2-56; as also that they encamped around the tabernacle by their tribes-toward the east Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; toward the south Reuben, Simeon, and Gad; toward the west Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin; toward the north Dan, Asher, and Naphtali; and the Levites in the middle near the tabernacle (2:2-34). The tribes signified all goods and truths in the complex (see n. 3858, 3862, 3926, 3939, 4060). It was for this reason that when Balaam saw Israel dwelling according to their tribes, and the spirit of God came upon him, he uttered his enunciation, saying: How good are thy tabernacles, O Jacob, thy dwelling places, O Israel, as the valleys are they planted, as gardens by the river (Num. 24:5-6). That by this prophecy was not meant the people named Jacob and Israel, but that it was the heaven of the Lord that was represented, is very manifest. For the same reason their marshallings in the wilderness, that is, their encampings by tribes, are called "camps" in other passages of the Word; and by a "camp" is there signified in the internal sense heavenly order; and by "encamping" a marshalling in accordance with this order, namely, the order in which goods and truths are disposed in heaven (as in Lev. 4:12; 8:17; 13:46; 14:8; 16:26, 28; 24:14, 23; Num. 2; 4:5-33; 5:2-4; 9:17 to the end; 10:1-10, 28; 11:31, 32; 12:14, 15; 31:19-24; Deut. 23:10-14). That the "camp of God" denotes heaven may also be seen in Joel: The earth quaked before Him, the heavens trembled, the sun and the moon were blackened, and the stars withdrew their brightness, and Jehovah uttered His voice before His army, for His camp is exceeding many, for numerous is he that doeth His word (Joel 2:10-11). In Zechariah: I will encamp at my house from the army, on account of him who passeth by, and on account of him who goeth away, lest the extortioner should pass over them (Zech. 9:8). In John: Gog and Magog went up over the plain of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; but fire came up from God and consumed them (Rev. 20:9); "Gog and Magog" denote those who are in external worship that is separated from internal and made idolatrous (n. 1151); the "plain of the earth" denotes the truth of the church (that a "plain" is the truth which is of doctrine may be seen above, n. 2450; and that the "earth" is the church, n. 556, 662, 1066, 1067, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355); the "camp of the saints" denotes the heaven or kingdom of the Lord on the earth, which is the church. As most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so likewise has a "camp," which then signifies evils and falsities, consequently hell; as in David: Though the evil should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear (Ps. 27:3). In the same: God hath scattered the bones of them that encamp against me; thou hast put them to shame, because God hath rejected them (Ps. 53:5). By the camp of Assyria, in which the angel of Jehovah smote a hundred and eighty-five thousand (Isa. 37:36), nothing else is meant; and the same by the camp of the Egyptians (Exod. 14:20).
And he called the name of that place Mahanaim. That this signifies the quality of the state, is evident from the signification of "calling a name," as being quality (see n. 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009, 3421); and from the signification of "place" as being state (n. 2625, 2837, 3356, 3387). In the original language "Mahanaim" means "two camps;" and "two camps" signify both heavens, or both kingdoms of the Lord, the celestial and the spiritual; and in the supreme sense the Lord's Divine celestial and Divine spiritual. Hence it is evident that the quality of the Lord's state when His natural was being enlightened by spiritual and celestial good, is signified by "Mahanaim." But this quality of the state cannot be described, because the Divine states which the Lord had when He made the human in Himself Divine, do not fall into any human apprehension, nor even into angelic, except by means of appearances enlightened by the light of heaven which is from the Lord; and by means of the states of man's regeneration; for the regeneration of man is an image of the Lord's glorification (n. 3138, 3212, 3296, 3490).
Verses 3-5. And Jacob sent messengers before him, to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the field of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau: Thus saith thy servant Jacob, I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried until now. And I had ox and ass, flock, and manservant and handmaid; and I send to tell my lord, to find grace in thine eyes. "And Jacob sent messengers before him, to Esau his brother," signifies the first communication with celestial good; "unto the land of Seir," signifies celestial natural good; "the field of Edom," signifies the derivative truth; "and he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau," signifies the first acknowledgment of good as being in the higher place; "I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried until now," signifies that He had imbued Himself with the good signified by "Laban;" "and I had ox and ass, and flock, and manservant and handmaid," signifies acquisitions therein in their order; "and I send to tell my lord, to find grace in thine eyes," signifies instruction concerning His state, and also the condescension and humiliation of truth in the presence of good.
And Jacob sent messengers before him, to Esau his brother. That this signifies the first communication with celestial good, is evident from the signification of "sending messengers," as being to communicate; and from the representation of Esau, as being celestial good in the natural (see n. 3300, 3302, 3494, 3504, 3527, 3576, 3599, 3669). As before said (n. 4234), the subject here treated of is the conjunction of the truth Divine of the natural (which is "Jacob,") with the good Divine therein (which is "Esau"), and therefore the enlightenment of the natural from the Divine was first treated of (n. 4235); and here there is treated of the first communication, which is signified by Jacob's sending messengers to Esau his brother. (That in the Word good and truth are called "brothers," see n. 367, 3303).
Unto the land of Seir. That this signifies celestial natural good, is evident from the signification of the "land of Seir," as being in the supreme sense the Lord's celestial natural good. The reason why the "land of Seir" has this signification, is that Mount Seir was a boundary of the land of Canaan on one side (Josh. 11:16, 17); and all boundaries, such as rivers, mountains, or lands, represented those things which were ultimates (n. 1585, 1866, 4116); for they put on their representations from the land of Canaan, which was in the midst, and represented the Lord's heavenly kingdom, and in the supreme sense His Divine Human (see n. 1607, 3038, 3481, 3705). The ultimates, which are boundaries, are those things which are called natural; for it is in natural things that spiritual and celestial things are terminated. Thus is it in the heavens; for the inmost or third heaven is celestial, because it is in love to the Lord; the middle or second heaven is spiritual, because it is in love toward the neighbor; and the ultimate or first heaven is celestial and spiritual natural, because it is in simple good, which is the ultimate of order there. It is similar with the regenerate man, who is a little heaven. From all this can now be seen whence it is that the "land of Seir" signifies celestial natural good. Esau also, who dwelt there, represents this good, as was shown above; and hence the same is signified by the land where he dwelt; for lands take on the representations of their inhabitants (n. 1675). From all this it is now evident what is signified in the Word by "Seir." As in Moses: Jehovah came from Sinai, and arose from Seir unto them, He shone forth from Mount Paran and He came from the ten thousands of holiness (Deut. 33:2-3). In the song of Deborah and Barak in the book of Judges: O Jehovah, when thou wentest forth out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, the heavens also dropped, the clouds also dropped water, the mountains flowed down, this Sinai, before Jehovah the God of Israel (Judg. 5:4-5). In the prophecy of Balaam: I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not nigh; there shall arise a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise up out of Israel; and Edom shall be an inheritance; Seir also shall be an inheritance of his enemies, and Israel maketh strength (Num. 24:17-18). Everyone can see that in these passages "Seir" signifies something of the Lord, for it is said that Jehovah "arose from Seir," that He "went forth out of Seir, and marched out of the field of Edom," and that "Edom and Seir shall be an inheritance." Yet what of the Lord it signifies, no one can know except from the internal sense of the Word; but that it is the Lord's Divine Human, and specifically the Divine natural as to good, may be seen from what has been said above. To "arise," and to "go forth out of Seir" denote that He made even His natural Divine, in order that from this also there might be light, that is, intelligence and wisdom; and that in this way He might become Jehovah, not only as to His Human Rational, but also as to His Human Natural; and therefore it is said, "Jehovah arose from Seir," and "Jehovah went forth out of Seir." (That the Lord is Jehovah may be seen above, n. 1343, 1736, 2004, 2005, 2018, 2025, 2156, 2329, 2921, 3023, 3035.) The "prophecy concerning Dumah" in Isaiah involves a like meaning: He calleth unto me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night; watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night (Isa. 21:11-12). By the "land of Seir" in the relative sense is properly signified the Lord's kingdom with those who are out of the church, that is, with the Gentiles, when the church is being set up among them, on the former or old church falling away from charity and faith. That those who are in darkness then have light is evident from many passages in the Word. This is properly signified by "arising from Seir," and "going forth out of Seir, and marching out of the field of Edom," and by "Seir being an inheritance;" as also by the above words in Isaiah: "He calleth unto me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night;" "the morning cometh" denotes the Lord's advent (n. 2405, 2780), and the consequent enlightenment to those who are in night (that is, in ignorance), but enlightenment from the Lord's Divine natural (n. 4211). As most of the things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so likewise has "Seir;" as in Ezekiel 25:8, 9; 35:2-15, and occasionally in the historicals of the Word.
The field of Edom. That this signifies the derivative truth (that is, truth from good) is evident from the signification of the "field of Edom," as being the Lord's Divine natural as to good, with which are conjoined the doctrinal things of truth, or truths (see n. 3302, 3322). The "derivative truths," or those which are from good, are distinct from the truths from which is good. The truths from which is good are those with which man imbues himself before regeneration; but the truths which are from good are those with which he imbues himself after regeneration, for after regeneration truths proceed from good, because the man then perceives and knows from good that they are true. Such truth, thus the truth of good, is what is signified by the "field of Edom;" as also in the passage cited above from the book of Judges: "O Jehovah, when Thou wentest forth out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom" (Judg. 5:4).
And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau. That this signifies the first acknowledgment of good as being in the higher place, may be seen from the signification here of "commanding the messengers to say," as being reflection and the consequent perception that it is so (see n. 3661, 3682), consequently acknowledgment; and from the representation of Esau, as being good (n. 4234, 4239). That good was in the higher place is signified by his not calling Esau his "brother," but his "lord," and also (as follows) by his calling himself his "servant," and afterwards speaking in the same manner. (That while man is being regenerated truth is apparently in the first place and good in the second; but good in the first place and truth in the second when he has been regenerated, may be seen above, n. 1904, 2063, 2189, 2697, 2979, 3286, 3288, 3310, 3325, 3330, 3332, 3336, 3470, 3509, 3539, 3548, 3556, 3563, 3570, 3576, 3579, 3603, 3701.) This is also what is meant by the prophetic utterance of Isaac the father to Esau his son: By thy sword shalt thou live, and thou shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck (Gen. 27:40). It is the inversion of state foretold in these prophetic words which is treated of in the present chapter.
I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried until now. That this signifies that He had imbued Himself with the good signified by "Laban," is evident from the representation of Laban, as being mediate good, that is, good not genuine, but still serving to introduce genuine truths and goods (see n. 3974, 3982, 3986, 4063); from the signification of "sojourning," as being to be instructed (see n. 1463, 2025); and from the signification of "tarrying" or "staying," as being predicated of a life of truth with good (n. 3613); here being to imbue with. Hence it is evident that by the words, "I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried until now," is signified that He had imbued Himself with the good signified by Laban. The case herein is this: Truth cannot be implanted in good except by mediate things, such as have been treated of in the preceding chapters, in which is described Jacob's sojourning and tarrying with Laban, and his acquisition of a flock there. In the present chapter is described the process of conjunction, and thus the inversion of state, in the order which exists when truth is being made subordinate to good. Truth is apparently in the first place, when a man is learning truth from affection, but does not yet live so much in accordance with it. But good is in the first place when he lives according to the truth which he has learned from affection; for truth then becomes good, inasmuch as the man then believes it to be good to do according to the truth. They who have been regenerated are in this good; and they also who have conscience, that is, who no longer reasoned whether a thing is true, but do it because it is true, and thus have imbued themselves with it in faith and in life.
And I had ox and ass, flock and manservant and handmaid. That this signifies acquisitions therein in their order, is evident from the signification of "ox and ass, flock and man-servant and handmaid" as being instrumental goods and truths both exterior and interior, thus acquisitions in their order. That an "ox" is exterior natural good, and an "ass" exterior natural truth, may be seen above, n. 2781; and that a "flock" is interior natural good, a "manservant" its truth, and a "handmaid" the affection of this truth, is evident from the signification of each, as explained several times above. These goods and truths are the acquisitions here treated of, and that they are named in their order, is manifest; for the exterior are the ox and the ass; and the interior are the flock, the manservant, and the handmaid.
And I send to tell my lord, to find grace in thine eyes. That this signifies instruction concerning His state, and also the condescension and humiliation of truth in the presence of good, is evident from the signification of "sending to tell," as being to instruct concerning one's state. That there then follow condescension and humiliation of truth in the presence of good, is manifest; for Jacob calls him his "lord," and says, "to find grace in thine eyes," which are words of condescension and humiliation. There is here described the nature of the state when the inversion is taking place, that is, when truth is being made subordinate to good, or when they who have been in the affection of truth are beginning to be in the affection of good. But that there is such inversion and subordination is not apparent to any but those who have been regenerated, and to those only of the regenerated who reflect. There are few at this day who are being regenerated, and still fewer who reflect; for which reason the things here said about truth and good cannot but be obscure, and perchance of such a nature as not to be acknowledged; especially with those who put the truths of faith in the first place, and the good of charity in the second; and who consequently think much about doctrinal things, but not about the goods of charity; and think of eternal salvation as being from the former, but not from the latter. They who think in this manner can in no wise know, still less perceive, that the truth of faith is subordinated to the good of charity. The things which man thinks, and from which he thinks, affect him. If he should think from the goods of charity, he would then plainly see that the truths of faith are in the second place and he would then also see the truths themselves as in light; for the good of charity is like a flame that gives light, and thus enlightens each and all things which the man had before supposed to be true; and he would also perceive how falsities had intermingled themselves, and had put on the appearance of being truths.
Verses 6-8. And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother, to Esau, and moreover he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. And Jacob feared exceedingly, and was distressed; and he halved the people that was with him, and the flock, and the herd, and the camels, into two camps. And he said, If Esau come to the one camp, and smite it, then there will be a camp left for escape. "And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother, to Esau, and moreover he cometh to meet thee," signifies that good flows in continually, so as to appropriate to itself; "and four hundred men with him," signifies its state now, that it may take the prior place; "and Jacob feared exceedingly, and was distressed," signifies the state when it is being changed; "and he halved the people that was with him, and the flock, and the herd, and the camels, into two camps," signifies the preparation and disposal of the truths and goods in the natural to receive the good represented by Esau; "and he said, If Esau come to the one camp, and smite it, then there will be a camp left for escape," signifies according to every event.
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