Doctrine of Sacred Scriptures, by Emanuel Swedenborg, , tr. by John F. Potts  at sacred-texts.com
Doctrine of Holy Scripture THE HOLY SCRIPTURE OR WORD IS DIVINE TRUTH It is in everybody's mouth that the Word is from God, is Divinely inspired, and is therefore holy; and yet hitherto no one has known wherein it is Divine. For in the letter the Word appears like a common writing, in a style that is strange, and neither so sublime nor so brilliant as apparently are the writings of the day. For this reason a man who worships nature as God, or in preference to God, and who consequently thinks from himself and what is proper to himself, and not from heaven from the Lord, may easily fall into error in respect to the Word, and into contempt for it, and while reading it may say to himself, What is this? What is that? Can this be Divine? Could God, whose wisdom is infinite, speak in this manner? Wherein consists its holiness, and whence comes its holiness, except from religious feeling and its consequent persuasion?2.
But he who thinks in this way does not consider that Jehovah Himself, the God of heaven and earth, spoke the Word through Moses and the prophets, and that it must therefore be Divine truth itself, for what Jehovah Himself speaks can be nothing else. Nor does he consider that the Lord, who is the same as Jehovah, spoke the Word that is in the Gospels, much of it with His own mouth, and the rest from the spirit of His mouth, which is the Holy Spirit. This is why, as He Himself says, there is Life in His words, that He is the Light which enlightens, and that He is the Truth. 2-1  That the words which the Lord Himself spoke in the Gospels are Life, is declared in John: The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63). Jesus said to the woman at Jacob's well, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water. Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into eternal life (John 4:6, 10, 14). "Jacob's well" signifies the Word, as also in Deut. 33:28, for which reason the Lord sat there and conversed with the woman. And "water" signifies the truth that is in the Word.  Again in John: If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-38). Peter said unto Jesus, Thou hast the words of eternal life (John 6:68). And therefore the Lord says in Mark: Heaven and earth shall pass away; but My words shall not pass away (Mark 13:31). The reason the Lord's words are "Life" is that He Himself is the "Life" and the "Truth," as He teaches in John: I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word; in Him was life; and the life was the light of men (John 1:1, 4.) "The Word" here means the Lord as to Divine truth, in which alone there is life and there is light.  It is on this account that the Word, which is from the Lord and which is the Lord, is called A fountain of living waters (Jer. 2:13; 17:13; 31:9). A fountain of salvation (Isa. 12:3). A fountain (Zech. 13:1). A river of the water of life (Rev. 22:1). And it is said that The Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters (Rev. 7:17). Besides other passages where the Word is called the "sanctuary" and the "Tabernacle" in which the Lord dwells with man.3.
But the natural man cannot be persuaded by these considerations to believe that the Word is Divine truth itself wherein are Divine wisdom and Divine life; for he judges it by its style, and in this they do not appear. Yet the style of the Word is the Divine style itself, with which no other style, however sublime and excellent it may seem, is at all to be compared; for every other style is as darkness is to light. The style of the Word is such that there is holiness in every sentence, and in every word, and in some places in even the very letters. This is why the Word conjoins man with the Lord, and opens heaven. From the Lord proceed two things: Divine love, and Divine wisdom (or, what is the same, Divine good, and Divine truth, for Divine good is of His Divine love, and Divine truth is of His Divine wisdom), and in its essence the Word is both of these; and as it conjoins man with the Lord, and opens heaven, it follows that the man who reads it from the Lord, and not from himself alone, is filled by it with the good of love and the truths of wisdom; his will with the good of love, and his understanding with the truths of wisdom. In this way man has life by means of the Word.4.
Therefore in order to remove all doubt as to such being the character of the Word, the Lord has revealed to me the Word's internal sense. In its essence this sense is spiritual, and in relation to the external sense, which is natural, is as soul is to body. This sense is the spirit which gives life to the letter; it can therefore bear witness to the divinity and holiness of the Word, and convince even the natural man, if he is willing to be convinced.5.
II IN THE WORD THERE IS A SPIRITUAL SENSE, HITHERTO This subject shall be considered in the following order: i. What the spiritual sense is. ii. This sense is in all things of the Word and in every single particular of it. iii. From this sense it is that the Word is Divinely inspired, and is holy in every word. iv. Hitherto this sense has been unknown. v. Henceforth it will be imparted solely to him who from the Lord is in genuine truths. i. What the spiritual sense is. The spiritual sense of the Word is not that sense which shines forth from the sense of the letter while one is studying and unfolding the meaning of the Word with intent to confirm some tenet of the church. This is the literal sense of the Word. The spiritual sense does not appear in the sense of the letter, being within it as the soul in the body, as thought in the eyes, and as affection in the face, which act as a one, like cause and effect. It is this sense chiefly which renders the Word spiritual, not for men only, but for angels also; and therefore by means of this sense the Word gives communication with the heavens.6.
From the Lord proceed the CELESTIAL, the SPIRITUAL, and the NATURAL, one after another. That is called the celestial which proceeds from His Divine love, and is Divine good; that is called the SPIRITUAL which proceeds from His Divine wisdom, and is Divine truth; the NATURAL is from both, being their complex in the ultimate. The angels of the Lord's celestial kingdom, of whom is composed the third or highest heaven, are in that Divine which proceeds from the Lord that is called the celestial, for they are in the good of love from the Lord. The angels of the Lord's spiritual kingdom, of whom is composed the second or middle heaven, are in that Divine which proceeds from the Lord that is called the spiritual, for they are in truths of wisdom from the Lord. 6-1 But the men of the church on earth are in the Divine Natural, which also proceeds from the Lord. From this it follows that the Divine in proceeding from the Lord to its ultimates descends through three degrees, and is named the celestial, the spiritual, and the natural. The Divine which comes down from the Lord to men descends through these three degrees; and when it has come down, it holds these three degrees contained within it. Such is everything Divine, so that when it is in its ultimate degree it is in its fullness. Such is the Word; in its ultimate sense it is natural, in its interior sense it is spiritual, and in its inmost sense it is celestial; and in each sense it is Divine. That such is the nature of the Word does not appear in the sense of the letter, which sense is natural, for the reason that hitherto the man of this world has known nothing about the heavens; and consequently has not known what the spiritual is, nor what the celestial is, nor therefore the distinction between them and the natural.7.
The distinction between these degrees cannot be known unless correspondence is known. For these three degrees are altogether distinct from each other, like end, cause, and effect, or like prior, posterior, and postreme; yet they make one by correspondences, for the Natural corresponds to the Spiritual, and also to the Celestial. What correspondence is may be seen in Heaven and Hell, where the subject of the correspondence of all things of heaven with all things of man has been treated of (n. 87-102); and also the correspondence of heaven with all things of the earth (n. 103-115). The same will further appear below, from examples adduced from the Word.8.
As therefore the Word interiorly is spiritual and celestial, it is written exclusively by correspondences. And what is thus written is in its ultimate sense written in a style such as is that of the Prophets and Evangelists, which, although it may appear common, yet conceals within it Divine and all angelic wisdom.9.
ii. The spiritual sense is in all things of the Word, and in every single particular of it. This cannot be better seen than by examples, such as the following. John says in Revelation: I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns, and He had a name written that no man knew but He Himself, and He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And His armies in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice, Come and gather yourselves together to the great supper, that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, and small and great (Rev. 19:11-18). What these things signify cannot be known except from the spiritual sense of the Word, and no one can know the spiritual sense except from a knowledge of correspondences, for all the above words are correspondences, and not one word there is without meaning. The knowledge of correspondences teaches what is signified by the white horse, what by Him who sat thereon, what by His eyes that were as a flame of fire, what by the crowns that were upon His head, what by His vesture dipped in blood, what by the white linen in which they were clothed who were of His army in heaven, what by the angel standing in the sun, what by the great supper to which they should come and gather themselves, and what by the flesh of kings, and captains, and others, which they should eat. The signification of each of these things in the spiritual sense may be seen in White Horse, where they are explained, so that it is unnecessary to explain them further here. In that little work it has been shown that the Lord in respect to the Word is here described; and that by His eyes which were as a flame of fire, and by the crowns that were upon His head, and by the name that no one knew but He Himself, is meant the spiritual sense of the Word, and that no one can know it but the Lord Himself and he to whom He wills to reveal it; and also that by His vesture dipped in blood is meant the natural sense of the Word, which is the sense of its letter, to which violence has been done. That it is the Word which is thus described is very evident, for it is said "His name is called the Word of God"; and that it is the Lord who is meant is equally clear, for it is said that the name of Him who sat on the white horse was written, King of kings and Lord of lords. That at the end of the church the spiritual sense of the Word is to be opened is signified not only by what is said of the white horse and of Him who sat thereon, but also by the great supper to which the angel standing in the sun invited all to come, and to eat the flesh of kings and of captains, of mighty men, of horses, and of them that sat on them, and of all both free and bond. All these expressions would be empty words and devoid of spirit and life, unless there were what is spiritual within them, like soul in body.10.
In Revelation, chapter 21, the Holy Jerusalem is thus described: That there was a light in her like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone, clear as crystal; that she had a wall great and high, having twelve gates, and over the gates twelve angels, and the name written thereon of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel; that the wall was a hundred and forty-four cubits, which is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel; and that the structure of the wall was of jasper, and its foundations of every precious stone, of jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, and amethyst; that the twelve gates were twelve pearls; that the city itself was pure gold, like unto pure glass; and that it was foursquare; and that the length, the breadth, and the height thereof were equal, twelve thousand furlongs; with many other particulars (Rev. 21). That all these things are to be understood spiritually is evident from the fact that by the Holy Jerusalem is meant a New Church which is to be set up by the Lord, as has been shown in Doctrine of the Lord (n. 62-65). And as the church is here signified by Jerusalem, it follows that all the things said of it as a city - concerning its gates, its wall, the foundations of its wall, and their measures - contain a spiritual sense; for the things that are of the church are spiritual. But what the several things signify has been explained in New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, published in London in the year 1758 (n. 1). I therefore refrain from a further explanation of them here. It is sufficient that it be known from that source that there is a spiritual sense in each several particular of the description, like a soul in its body; and that without this sense nothing of the church would be understood in the things there written; such as that the city was of pure gold; that its gates were of pearls; its wall of jasper; the foundations of its wall of precious stones; that its wall was of a hundred and forty-four cubits, which is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel; and that the city itself was twelve thousand furlongs in length, breadth, and height; and so on. But whoever, from a knowledge of correspondences, has come to know the spiritual sense will understand these particulars; as that the wall and its foundations signify doctrine from the literal sense of the Word; and that the numbers twelve, one hundred and forty-four, and twelve thousand, signify like things, namely, all the truths and goods of the church in one complex.11.
In Revelation, chapter 7, it is said: That there were sealed one hundred and forty-four thousand-twelve thousand of each tribe of Israel-of the tribe of Judah, of the tribe of Reuben, of Gad, of Asher, of Naphtali, of Manasseh, of Simeon, of Levi, of Issachar, of Zebulon, of Joseph, and of Benjamin (Rev. 7:4-8). The spiritual sense of these words is that all are saved in whom is the church from the Lord; for, in the spiritual sense, to be sealed on the forehead, or to be sealed, signifies to be acknowledged by the Lord and saved. The twelve tribes of Israel signify all of that church; twelve, twelve thousand, and a hundred and forty-four thousand, signify all; Israel signifies the church; and each tribe some specific thing of the church. He who does not know this spiritual signification of these words may imagine that only this precise number are to be saved, and they solely from the Israelitish and Jewish nation.12.
In Revelation, chapter 6, it is said: That when the Lamb opened the first seal of the book, there went forth a white horse, and that he who sat thereon had a bow, and to him was given a crown; that when He opened the second seal there went forth a red horse, and that to him who sat thereon was given a great sword; that when He opened the third seal there went forth a black horse, and that he who sat thereon had a pair of balances in his hand; and that when He opened the fourth seal there went forth a pale horse, and that the name of him who sat thereon was death (Rev. 6:1-8). What these things signify can be unfolded solely by means of the spiritual sense; and it is completely unfolded when it is known what is signified by the opening of the seals, by a horse, and by the other things mentioned. By them are described the successive states of the church, from its beginning to its end, in respect to its understanding of the Word. The "opening of the seals of the book by the Lamb" signifies the manifestation by the Lord of those states of the church. A "horse" signifies the understanding of the Word; the "white horse," the understanding of truth from the Word in the first state of the church; the "bow" of him who sat upon that horse, the doctrine of charity and faith fighting against falsities; the "crown," eternal life, the prize of victory. The "red horse" signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed in respect to good, in the second state of the church; the "great sword," falsity fighting against truth. The "black horse" signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed in respect to truth, in the third state of the church; the "pair of balances," the estimation of truth so small that there was scarcely any. The "pale horse" signifies the understanding of the Word annihilated by evils of life and the derivative falsities, in the fourth or last state of the church; and "death" signifies eternal condemnation. It is not apparent in the sense of the letter or natural sense that such is the signification of these things in the spiritual sense, so that unless the spiritual sense were at some time opened, the Word as to this and all other things in Revelation would be so completely closed that at last no one would know wherein its Divine holiness lies. It is equally so in respect to what is signified by the "four horses" and the "four chariots" that came forth from between two mountains of brass (Zech. 6:1-8).13.
In Revelation, chapter 9, we read: The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth, and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit; and he opened the bottomless pit, and there went up a smoke out of the pit as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit; and there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth, and unto them was given power as the scorpions of the earth have power. The shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared for war, and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold; and their faces were as the faces of men; and they had hair as the hair of women; and their teeth were as the teeth of lions; and they had breastplates as of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots, of many horses running to war; and they had tails like scorpions; and there were stings in their tails; and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew is Abaddon, but in the Greek he hath the name Apollyon (Rev. 1-3, 7-11). Neither could these things be understood by anyone unless the spiritual sense were revealed to him; for nothing here is said emptily, but every single thing has its signification. The subject here treated of is the state of the church when all knowledges of truth from the Word have been destroyed, and consequently man, having become sensuous, persuades himself that falsities are truths.  The "star fallen from heaven" signifies the knowledges of truth destroyed; the "sun and air darkened" signifies the light of truth become thick darkness; the "locusts that came out of the smoke of the pit" signify falsities in the outermost things such as exist with those who have become sensuous, and who see and judge all things from fallacies; a "scorpion" signifies their persuasiveness. That the locusts appeared "like horses prepared for war" signifies their reasonings as it were from the understanding of truth; that the locusts had "crowns like gold upon their heads, and faces as the faces of men" signifies that they appeared to themselves as conquerors, and as wise; their having "hair as the hair of women" signifies that they appeared to themselves as if they were in the affection of truth; their having "teeth as the teeth of lions" signifies that sensuous things, which are ultimate things of the natural man, appeared to them as having power over all things.  Their having "breastplates as breastplates of iron" signifies argumentations from fallacies by which they fight and prevail; that "the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots running to war" signifies reasonings as if from the truths of doctrine from the Word for which they were to fight; their having "tails like scorpions" signifies persuasions; their having "stings in their tails" signifies their cunning arts of deceiving thereby; their having "power to hurt men five months" signifies that they induce a kind of stupor on those who are in the understanding of truth and perception of good; their having "a king over them, the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name is Abaddon or Apollyon" signifies that their falsities were from hell, where dwell those who are merely natural and in self-intelligence.  This is the spiritual sense of these words, of which nothing appears in the sense of the letter. Everywhere in Revelation it is the same. Be it known that in the spiritual sense all things hang together in a continuous connection, which is fitted together in such a manner by the force and meaning of all the words in the literal or natural sense, that if even a little word were taken out of it, the connection would be broken and the coherence would perish. In order to prevent this, it is added at the end of this prophetical book, That not a word shall be taken away (Rev. 22:19). It is the same with the books of the prophets of the Old Testament; in order to prevent anything from being taken away from them, it came to pass of the Lord's Divine Providence that everything therein down to the very letters was counted. This was done by the Masorites.14.
In speaking to His disciples about the consummation of the age (which is the last time of the church), at the end of His predictions concerning the successive changes of state in the church, the Lord says, Immediately after the affliction of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth wail, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and much glory. And He shall send 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 of them (Matt. 24:29-31).  By these words, in the spiritual sense, is not meant that the sun and moon would be darkened, that the stars would fall from heaven, that the Lord's sign would appear in heaven, and that He would be seen in the clouds together with angels with trumpets, but by every word is meant some spiritual thing that is of the church, concerning the state of which at its end these things were spoken. For, in the spiritual sense, the "sun, which shall be darkened" means the Lord as to love; the "moon, which shall not give her light" means the Lord as to faith; the "stars, which shall fall from heaven" means the knowledges of what is good and true that would perish; the "sign of the Son of man in heaven" means the appearing of Divine truth; the "tribes of the earth, which shall wail" means the lack of all truth that is of faith, and of all good that is of love; the "coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and glory" means the Lord's presence in the Word, and revelation; "clouds" signify the sense of the letter of the Word, and "glory," the spiritual sense of the Word; the "angels with a trumpet and a great voice" signifies heaven whence comes Divine truth; to "gather together the elect from the four winds, from the end of the heavens even to the end of them" signifies a newness of the church in respect to love and faith.  That there is not meant a darkening of the sun and moon, nor a falling of the stars to the earth, is very evident from the prophets, in which like things are said about the state of the church when the Lord should come into the world. As in Isaiah: Behold the day of Jehovah cometh, cruel, and of wrath of anger; the stars of the heavens, and the constellations thereof, shall not give their light, the sun shall be darkened in His rising, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine; I will visit upon the world its wickedness (Isa. 13:9-11; 24:21, 23). In Joel: The day of Jehovah cometh, a day of darkness and of thick darkness; the sun and the moon shall be blackened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining (Joel 2:1-2, 10; 3:15). In Ezekiel: I will cover the heavens, and blacken the stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine; all the luminaries of light I will make dark, and will set darkness upon thy land (Ezek. 32:7-8). "The day of Jehovah" means the Lord's advent, which took place when there was no longer anything good and true left in the church, and not any knowledge of the Lord.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] 15-1 perverting all truth, and confirming falsity.  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?  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.16.
Without the spiritual sense no one would know why the prophet Jeremiah was commanded To buy himself a girdle, and put it on his loins; and not to draw it through the waters, but to hide it in a hole of the rock by Euphrates (Jer. 13:1-7). Or why the prophet Isaiah was commanded To loose the sackcloth from off his loins, and put the shoe from off his foot, and go naked and barefoot three years (Isa. 20:2-3). Or why the prophet Ezekiel was commanded To pass a razor upon his head and upon his beard, and afterwards to divide the hairs, and burn a third part in the midst of the city, smite a third part with the sword, scatter a third part in the wind, and bind a few of them in his skirts, and at last throw them into the midst of the fire (Ezek. 5:1-4). Or why the same prophet was commanded To lie upon his left side three hundred and ninety days, and upon his right side forty days, and to make himself a cake of wheat, and barley, and millet, and spelt, with the dung of an ox, and eat it; and in the meantime to raise a rampart and a mound against Jerusalem, and besiege it (Ezek. 4:1-15). Or why the prophet Hosea was twice commanded To take to himself a harlot to wife (Hos. 1:2-9; 3:2-3). And many like things. Moreover, without the spiritual sense who would know what is signified by all the things pertaining to the Tabernacle, such as the ark, the mercy-seat, cherubim, lampstand, altar of incense, the bread of faces on the table, and its veils and curtains? Who without the spiritual sense would know what is signified by Aaron's garments of holiness, by his coat, cloak, ephod, urim and thummim, miter, and other things? Who without the spiritual sense would know what is signified by all the things enjoined concerning the burnt-offerings, sacrifices, meat-offerings, and drink-offerings, and also concerning the Sabbaths and feasts? The truth is that not the least thing was commanded concerning them that did not signify something of the Lord, heaven, and the church. From these few examples it may be clearly seen that there is a spiritual sense in all things of the Word and in every particular of it.17.
That the Lord when in the world spoke by correspondences, thus that He spoke spiritually while He spoke naturally, is evident from His parables, in each and every word of which there is a spiritual sense. Take for example the parable of the ten virgins: The kingdom of the heavens is like unto ten virgins, who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom; five of them were wise, and five were foolish; they that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil, but the wise took oil in their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept; and at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins awaked, and trimmed their lamps; and the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out; but the wise answered, saying, Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you; but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the wedding, and the door was shut. Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, lord, open to us; but he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not (Matt. 25:1-12).  That there is a spiritual sense in each and every one of these things, and a consequent Divine holiness, can be seen by him only who knows that a spiritual sense exists, and what is its nature. In the spiritual sense, the "kingdom of God" means heaven and the church; the "bridegroom," the Lord; the "wedding," the marriage of the Lord with heaven and the church by means of the good of love and of faith. "Virgins" signify those who are of the church; "ten," all; "five," some; "lamps," the truths of faith; "oil," the good of love; to "sleep," and to "awake," the life of man in this world which is natural life, and his life after death which is spiritual; to "buy," to procure for themselves; to "go to them that sell and buy oil," to procure for themselves the good of love from others after death; and as this can then be no longer procured, although they came with their lamps and the oil they had bought to the door where the wedding was, yet the bridegroom said to them "I know you not." The reason is that after his life in this world a man remains such as he had lived in this world.  From all this it is evident that the Lord spoke exclusively by correspondences, and this because He spoke from the Divine that was in Him, and was His. That the "bridegroom" signifies the Lord; the "kingdom of the heavens," the church; a "wedding," the marriage of the Lord with the church by means of the good of love and of faith; "ten," all; "five," some; to "sleep," a natural state; to "buy," to procure for one's self; a "door," entrance into heaven; and "not to know them," when spoken by the Lord, not to be in His love, is evident from many passages in the prophetic Word where these expressions have a like signification. It is because "virgins" signify those who are of the church that the virgin and daughter of Zion, of Jerusalem, of Judah, and of Israel are so often mentioned in the prophetic Word. And it is because "oil" signifies the good of love that all the holy things of the Israelitish church were anointed with oil. It is the same with all the other parables, and with all the words the Lord spoke, and that were written in the Gospels. This is why the Lord says that His words are spirit and are life (John 6:63).  It is the same with all the Lord's miracles, which were Divine because they signified the various states of those with whom the church was to be set up anew by the Lord. Thus when the blind received sight, it signified that they who had been in ignorance of truth should receive intelligence; when the deaf received hearing, it signified that they who had previously heard nothing about the Lord and the Word should hearken and obey; when the dead were raised, it signified that they who otherwise would spiritually perish would become living; and so on. This is meant by the Lord's reply to the disciples of John, who sent them to ask whether He was the one that should come: Tell John the things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead rise again, and the poor hear the gospel (Matt. 11:3-5). Moreover, all the miracles related in the Word contain in them such things as belong to the Lord, to heaven, and to the church. This makes these miracles Divine, and distinguishes them from those which are not Divine. These few examples are given in order to illustrate what the spiritual sense is, and to show that it is in all things of the Word and in every particular of it.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.  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.  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, 18-1 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.  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.  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.19.
There is a still more interior sense in the Word which is called CELESTIAL, and of which something has been said above (n. 6); but this sense can with difficulty be made plain, because it does not fall so much into the thought of the understanding as into the affection of the will. The reason there is in the Word this still more interior sense called celestial is that there proceeds from the Lord Divine good and Divine truth, Divine good from His Divine love, and Divine truth from His Divine wisdom; and both are in the Word, for the Word is the Divine proceeding, 19-1 and it is for this reason that the Word gives life to those who devoutly read it. But this subject will be spoken of in the chapter in which it will be shown that there is a marriage of the Lord and the church, and a derivative marriage of good and truth, in each and every thing of the Word.20.
iv. Hitherto the spiritual sense of the Word has been unknown. It has been shown in the work Heaven and Hell (n. 87-105) that all things of nature, and likewise of the human body, and also every single particular in them, correspond to spiritual things. Hitherto, however, it has not been known what correspondence is, although in the most ancient times this was very well known; for the science of correspondences was then the science of sciences, and was so universal that all the writings and books were written by means of correspondences.  The book of Job, which is an ancient book, is full of correspondences. The hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, and also the fabulous stories of highest antiquity, were nothing but correspondences. All the ancient churches were churches representative of heavenly things; their rites, and also the ordinances according to which their worship was instituted, consisted exclusively of correspondences. So did all things of the church among the sons of Jacob; their burnt-offerings and sacrifices, with each and every thing thereto pertaining, were correspondences; so was the Tabernacle with all its contents; so were their feasts, the feast of unleavened things, the feast of Tabernacles, and the feast of first-fruits; so was the priesthood of Aaron and the Levites, and also the holy garments of Aaron and his sons; besides all the ordinances and judgments that concerned their worship and their life.  And as Divine things present themselves in the world by correspondences, the Word has been written exclusively by means of them. And therefore the Lord spoke by correspondences, because He spoke from His Divine, for that which is from the Divine, descending into nature, is turned into such things as correspond to Divine things, and which then store up and conceal in their bosom the Divine things that are called celestial and spiritual.21.
I have been instructed that the men of the Most Ancient Church (the church before the flood) were of a genius so heavenly that they spoke with angels of heaven, and that they were able to speak with them by means of correspondences. From this the state of their wisdom was rendered such that whatever they saw in this world they thought about not only in a natural way, but spiritually also at the same time, so that they thought unitedly with angels. I have been instructed besides that Enoch (of whom mention is made in Genesis 5:21-24) together with his associates, collected correspondences from the lips of those men of the Most Ancient Church, and transmitted the knowledge of them to posterity, and that in consequence of this the science of correspondences was not only known but was also much cultivated in many kingdoms of Asia, especially in the land of Canaan, in Egypt, Assyria, Chaldea, Syria, Arabia, and also in Tyre, Sidon, and Nineveh; and that it was carried over from places on the seacoast there into Greece; but there it was turned into fabulous stories, as is evident from the earliest writers of that country.22.
But when in process of time the representative things of the church, which were correspondences, were converted into things idolatrous and also into magic, then of the Lord's Divine Providence the knowledge of correspondences was gradually blotted out of remembrance, and among the Israelitish and Jewish people was altogether lost and annihilated. The worship of that nation did indeed consist exclusively of correspondences, and was consequently representative of heavenly things; but still they did not know what anything of it signified, for they were utterly natural men, and therefore were neither willing nor able to know anything about spiritual things, nor consequently about correspondences.23.
The reason why, in ancient times, the idolatries of the nations originated from the knowledge of correspondences, was that all things visible on the earth have a correspondence; not only trees, but also beasts and birds of every kind, and likewise fishes, and all other things. The ancients, possessing a knowledge of correspondences, made for themselves images that corresponded to heavenly things, and delighted in them because they signified things such as belong to heaven, and therefore to the church. They therefore set them not only in their temples, but also in their houses, not to be worshiped, but to call to remembrance the heavenly things they signified. Consequently in Egypt and elsewhere there were images of calves, oxen, serpents, also of children, old men, maidens; because calves and oxen signified affections and powers of the natural man; serpents, the sagacity of the sensuous man; children, innocence and charity; old men, wisdom; and maidens, affections of truth; and so on. When the knowledge of correspondences had been blotted out of remembrance, their descendants began to worship as holy, and at last as deities, the images and emblems set up by the ancients, because they stood in and about their temples.  So with other nations; as, with the Philistines at Ashdod, Dagon (concerning whom see 1 Sam. 5:1 to end), whose upper part was like a man, and his lower like a fish. This image was so devised because a man signifies intelligence, and a fish knowledge, which make a one. It was also because they possessed a knowledge of correspondences that the ancients worshiped in gardens and groves, in accordance with the kinds of trees in them; and also upon mountains and hills. For gardens and groves signified wisdom and intelligence, and each particular tree something relating thereto; as the olive, the good of love; the vine, truth from that good; the cedar, rational good and truth. A mountain signified the highest heaven; and a hill, the heaven under it.  The knowledge of correspondences survived among a number of the orientals, even until the Lord's advent, as is evident from the wise men of the east who came to the Lord at his birth; and this was why a star went before them, and why they brought with them as gifts gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:1-2, 9-11). For the "star that went before them" signified knowledge [cognitio] from heaven; "gold," celestial good; "frankincense," spiritual good; and "myrrh," natural good; from which three is all worship.  Nevertheless there was no knowledge of correspondences whatever among the Israelitish and Jewish nation, although everything in their worship, and all the judgments and ordinances delivered them through Moses, and all things of the Word, were nothing but correspondences. The reason was that at heart they were idolaters, and of such a character that they were not even willing to know that anything of their worship signified what is celestial and spiritual; for they desired that all those things should be holy in themselves and in connection with them; so that if celestial and spiritual things had been disclosed to them, they would not only have rejected but would have profaned them. Therefore heaven was so closed toward them that they scarcely knew that there is a life eternal. That this was the case is clearly evident from the fact that they did not acknowledge the Lord, although universal holy Scripture prophesied concerning Him, and foretold His advent; and they rejected Him for this sole reason - that He taught of a heavenly and not an earthly kingdom; for they wanted a Messiah who would exalt them above every other nation in the world, and not a Messiah who cared for their eternal salvation. For the rest, they affirm that the Word contains within it many arcana that are called mystical; but are unwilling to learn that these refer to the Lord; they however are quite willing to learn when it is said that the reference is to gold.24.
The reason why the knowledge of correspondences, which gives the spiritual sense of the Word, was not disclosed in times after those, is that the Christians of the primitive church were so very simple that it could not be disclosed to them; for it would have been of no use to them, nor would it have been understood. After their day, in consequence of the papal dominion, darkness came over all the Christian world; and they who are of that dominion, and have confirmed themselves in its falsities, neither can nor will apprehend anything spiritual, nor consequently what is the correspondence in the Word of natural things with spiritual. For thereby they would be convinced that by "Peter" is not meant Peter, but the Lord as a rock; and they would also be convinced that the Word is Divine even to its inmosts, and that a decree of the Pope is relatively of no account. On the other hand, after the Reformation, as men began to effect a separation between faith and charity, and to worship God in three Persons - thus three gods, whom they conceived to be one - heavenly truths were hidden from them; and if they had been disclosed they would have falsified them and applied them to faith alone, and not one of them to charity and love. And thus they would have closed heaven against themselves.25.
The reason why the spiritual sense of the Word has been at this day disclosed by the Lord is that the doctrine of genuine truth has now been revealed; and this doctrine, and no other, is in accord with the spiritual sense of the Word. This sense, moreover, is signified by the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven with glory and power (Matt. 24:30, 31); which chapter treats of the consummation of the age, by which is meant the last time of the church. The opening of the Word as to its spiritual sense was also promised in Revelation. It is there meant by the "white horse," and by the "great supper" to which all are invited (Rev. 19:11-18). That for a long time the spiritual sense will not be recognized, and that this is entirely owing to those who are in falsities of doctrine, especially concerning the Lord, and who therefore do not admit truths, is meant in Revelation by the "beast," and by the "kings of the earth," who should make war with him that sat upon the white horse (19:19). By the "beast" are meant the Papists, as in chapter 17:3; and by the "kings of the earth" are meant the Reformed who are in false things of doctrine.26.
v. Henceforth the spiritual sense of the Word will be imparted solely to him who from the Lord is in genuine truths. The reason of this is that no one can see the spiritual sense except from the Lord alone, nor unless from Him he is in genuine truths. For the spiritual sense of the Word treats solely of the Lord and His kingdom; and this is the sense in which are His angels in heaven, for it is His Divine truth there. To this sense a man can do violence if he has a knowledge of correspondences, and wishes by means of it and from self-intelligence to investigate the spiritual sense of the Word. For through some correspondences with which he is acquainted he may pervert the meaning of it, and may even force it to confirm what is false, and this would be doing violence to Divine truth, and also to heaven. And therefore if anyone purposes to open that sense from himself and not from the Lord, heaven is closed; and then the man either sees nothing, or else becomes spiritually insane.  Another reason is that the Lord teaches everyone by means of the Word, and He teaches from those truths which the man already has, and not without a medium does He pour new truths in, so that unless man is in Divine truths, or if he is only in a few truths and at the same time in falsities, he may from these falsify the truths, as it is well known is done by every heretic in regard to the Word's sense of the letter. Therefore in order to prevent anybody from entering into the spiritual sense of the Word, or from perverting the genuine truth that belongs to that sense, guards have been set by the Lord, which in the Word are meant by the cherubim.  That guards have been set has been represented to me in the following manner: It was granted me to see great purses, having the appearance of sacks, in which silver was stored up in great abundance. As the purses were open, it seemed as if anyone might take out, and even pillage, the silver therein deposited; but near those purses sat two angels as guards. The place where the purses were laid appeared like a manger in a stable. In an adjoining apartment were seen modest maidens together with a chaste wife, and near that apartment stood two little children, and it was said that they were to be sported with, not in childish fashion, but wisely. After this there appeared a harlot, and a horse lying dead.  On seeing these things I was instructed that by them was represented the sense of the letter of the Word, in which is the spiritual sense. The large purses full of silver, signified knowledges of truth in great abundance. Their being open and yet guarded by angels, signified that everyone may get knowledges of truth from the Word, but that care is taken lest anyone should falsify the spiritual sense, in which are pure truths. The manger in a stable in which the purses lay, signified spiritual instruction for the understanding - a manger signifies this because the horse that feeds from it signifies the understanding.  The modest maidens seen in the adjoining apartment, signified affections of truth; and the chaste wife, the conjunction of good and truth. The little children signified the innocence of wisdom therein; they were angels from the third heaven, who all appear like little children. The harlot, together with the dead horse, signified the falsification of the Word by many of this day, whereby all understanding of truth perishes. The harlot signified falsification; and the dead horse, no understanding of truth. 26-127.
III THE SENSE OF THE LETTER OF THE WORD IS THE BASIS, THE CONTAINANT, AND THE SUPPORT OF ITS SPIRITUAL AND CELESTIAL SENSES In every Divine work there is a first, a middle, and a last (or ultimate); and the first passes through the middle to the last (or ultimate), and so comes into manifest being and subsists. Hence the last or ultimate is the basis. But the first is in the middle, and through the middle in the ultimate; so that the ultimate is the container. And as the ultimate is the container and the basis, it is also the support.28.
The learned reader will comprehend that these three may be called end, cause, and effect; also esse, fieri, and existere; 28-1 and that the end is the esse, the cause the fieri, and the effect the existere; consequently, that in every complete thing there is a trine, which is called first, middle, and ultimate; also end, cause, and effect; and also esse, fieri, and existere. When these things are comprehended, it is also comprehended that every Divine work is complete and perfect in its ultimate; and likewise that the whole is in the ultimate, which is a trine, because the prior things are together, or simultaneously, in it. 28-229.
It is from this that by "three" in the Word in the spiritual sense is meant what is complete and perfect; and also the whole simultaneously. And as this is the signification of the number three, it is employed in the Word whenever any such thing is marked out for notice. As in the following passages: Isaiah went naked and barefoot three years (Isa. 20:3). Jehovah called Samuel three times, and Samuel ran three times to Eli, and Eli understood him the third time (1 Sam. 3:1-8). David said to Jonathan that he would hide himself in the field three days; and Jonathan afterwards shot three arrows at the side of the stone; and after that David bowed himself down three times before Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:5, 12-41). Elijah stretched himself three times over the widow's son (1 Kings 17:21). Elijah commanded that they should pour water on the burnt-offering three times (1 Kings 18:34). Jesus said, The kingdom of the heavens is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened (Matt. 13:33). Jesus said unto Peter that he should deny Him thrice (Matt. 26:34). The Lord said three times unto Peter, Lovest thou Me? (John 21:15-17). Jonah was in the whale's belly three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). Jesus said, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (John 2:19; Matt. 26:61). Jesus prayed three times in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39-44). Jesus rose again on the third day (Matt. 28:1). Besides many other passages where the number "three" is mentioned; and it is mentioned wherever a finished and perfect work is treated of, because this is signified by that number.30.
These things are premised with a view to those which follow, in order that they may be comprehended with understanding; and for the present purpose that it may be comprehended that the natural sense of the Word which is the sense of the letter, is the basis, the container, and the support of its spiritual sense and of its celestial sense.31.
It has been said above (n. 6, 19) that there are three senses in the Word; and also that the celestial sense is its first, the spiritual sense its middle, and the natural sense its ultimate sense. From this the rational man may infer that the first of the Word, which is celestial, passes through its middle, which is spiritual, to its ultimate, which is natural; and thus that its ultimate is the Basis. Furthermore that the first of the Word, which is celestial, is in its middle, which is spiritual, and through this is in its ultimate, which is natural, and that consequently its ultimate, which is natural and is the sense of the letter, is the container. And as the sense of the letter is the basis and the container, it is also the Support.32.
But how these things come to pass cannot be told in a few words. Indeed they are arcana in which are the angels of heaven, and which will be unfolded, so far as can possibly be done, in the treatises mentioned in the preface to Doctrine of the Lord - and which will be from angelic wisdom - on the Divine Providence, Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Omniscience, on Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, and On Life. 32-1 For the present it is sufficient to conclude from what has been said above, that the Word - which is in an especial sense a Divine work for the salvation of mankind - in respect to its ultimate sense, which is natural and is called the sense of the letter, is the Basis, the Container, and the Support of the two interior senses.33.
From all this it follows that without the sense of the letter, the Word would be like a palace without a foundation, and thus like a palace in the air and not on the earth, which would be but the shadow of a palace, that would vanish away. Furthermore, that without the sense of the letter the Word would be like a temple containing many holy things, and in its midst a sanctuary, but without roof and walls, which are its containers, and in the absence or loss of which its holy things would be plundered by thieves, or invaded by beasts of earth and birds of heaven, and thus be dispersed. Or it would be like the Tabernacle (in the inmost of which was the ark of the covenant, and in its middle the golden lampstand, the golden altar for incense, and the table on which were the loaves of faces, which were its holy things) without its ultimates, which were the curtains and veils. Nay, without the sense of the letter, the Word would be like a human body without its coverings which are called skins, and without its supports which are called bones; lacking which supports and coverings all the interior things of the body would fall asunder. And it would be like the heart and lungs in the chest without their covering which is called the pleura, and their supports which are called the ribs. Or like the brain without its covering which is called the dura mater, and without its general covering, container, and support, which is called the skull. Thus would it be with the Word without the sense of the letter; and therefore it is said in Isaiah: Jehovah createth upon all the glory a covering (Isa. 4:5).34.
So would it be with the heavens where angels are, without the world where men are. The human race is the basis, containant, and support of the heavens; and the Word is among men and in them. For all the heavens have been discriminated into two kingdoms, called the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom; these two kingdoms are founded upon a natural kingdom, in which are men. And so therefore is it with the Word which is among men and in men. (That the angelic heavens have been discriminated into two kingdoms, the celestial, and the spiritual, may be seen in Heaven and Hell, n. 20-28.)35.
It has been shown in Doctrine of the Lord (n. 28) that the prophets of the Old Testament represented the Lord in respect to the Word, and thereby signified the doctrine of the church from the Word, and that for this reason they were called "sons of man." From this it follows that by means of the various things they suffered and endured, they represented the violence done by the Jews to the sense of the letter of the Word. Thus: The prophet Isaiah was commanded to put off the sackcloth from off his loins, and to put off his shoe from off his foot, and to go naked and barefoot three years (Isa. 20:2-3). And so The prophet Ezekiel was commanded to pass a barber's razor upon his head and upon his beard, and to burn a third part in the midst of the city, to smite a third part with the sword, and to scatter a third part in the wind, and to wrap a few of the hairs in his skirts, and at last to cast them into the midst of the fire and burn them (Ezek. 5:1-4).  As the "prophets" represented the Word, and consequently signified the doctrine of the church from the Word, as said above, and as the "head" signifies wisdom from the Word, therefore the "hair" and "beard" signify the ultimate of truth. By reason of this signification, it was a mark of deep mourning, and also a great disgrace, for anyone to make himself bald, or to be seen bald. For this and no other reason it was that the prophet shaved off the hair of his head and his beard, that so he might represent the state of the Jewish Church in respect to the Word. For this and no other reason was it that The forty-two children who called Elisha bald were torn to pieces by two she-bears (2 Kings 2:23-24). For as before said a "prophet" represented the Word, and "baldness" signified the Word without its ultimate sense.  It will be seen in the next chapter (n. 49) that the "Nazirites" represented the Lord in respect to the Word in its ultimates; and therefore it was an ordinance for them that they should let their hair grow, and shave off none of it. Moreover the term "Nazirite" in the Hebrew tongue means the hair of the head. It was also an ordinance for the high priest that he should not shave his head (Lev. 21:10). Likewise for the head of a household (Lev. 21:5).  This was why baldness was to them a great disgrace, as is evident from the following passages: On all heads baldness, and every beard shaven (Isa. 15:2; Jer. 48:37). Shame upon all faces, and baldness upon all heads (Ezek. 7:18). Every head made bald, and every shoulder plucked (Ezek. 29:18). I will cause sackcloth to come up upon all loins, and baldness upon every head (Amos 8:10). Put on baldness, and shave thee on account of the sons of thy delights, and enlarge thy baldness, for they are gone into exile from thee (Micah 1:16). To "put on baldness" and to "enlarge" it here signifies to falsify the truths of the Word in its ultimates, for when these are falsified (as was done by the Jews) the whole Word is destroyed; for the ultimates of the Word are its props and supports; indeed, each word is a prop and a support to its celestial and spiritual truths. As the "hair" signifies truth in the ultimates, in the spiritual world all who despise the Word, and falsify its sense of the letter, appear bald; whereas they who honor and love it appear with becoming hair. On this subject see also below (n. 49).36.
The Word in its ultimate or natural sense, which is the sense of the letter, is signified also by the wall of the Holy Jerusalem, the structure of which was of jasper; and by the foundations of the wall, which were precious stones; and likewise by the gates, which were pearls (Rev. 21:18-21); for Jerusalem signifies the church as to doctrine. But of these things more in the following chapter. From what has been adduced it is now evident that the sense of the letter of the Word, which is the natural sense, is the basis, container, and support of its interior senses, which are the spiritual and the celestial.37.
IV DIVINE TRUTH IN THE SENSE OF THE LETTER OF THE WORLD IS IN ITS FULLNESS, IN ITS HOLINESS, AND IN ITS POWER The reason why the Word in the sense of the letter is in its fullness, in its holiness, and in its power, is that the two prior or interior senses, which are called the spiritual and the celestial, are together or simultaneous [sunt simul] in the natural sense, which is the sense of the letter, as was said above (n. 28). But how they are simultaneous in that sense shall now be told in a few words.38.
There are in heaven and in this world a successive order and a simultaneous order. In successive order one thing succeeds and follows another from highest to lowest; but in simultaneous order one thing is next to another from inmost to outmost. Successive order is like a column with successive parts from the top to the bottom; but simultaneous order is like a connected structure with successive circumferences from center to surface. It shall now be told how successive order becomes simultaneous order in the ultimate. It is in this way: The highest things of successive order become the inmost ones of simultaneous order, and the lowest things of successive order become the outermost ones of simultaneous order. Comparatively speaking it is as if the column of successive parts were to sink down and become a connected body in a plane.  Thus is the simultaneous formed from the successive, and this in all things both in general and in particular of the natural world, and also of the spiritual world; for everywhere there is a first, a middle, and an ultimate, and the first aims at and goes through the middle to its ultimate. Apply this to the Word. The celestial, the spiritual, and the natural proceed from the Lord in successive order, and in the ultimate are in simultaneous order; and it is in this way that the celestial and spiritual senses of the Word are simultaneous in its natural sense. When this is comprehended, it may be seen how the natural sense of the Word, which is the sense of the letter, is the basis, containant, and support of its spiritual and celestial senses; and how in the sense of the letter of the Word Divine good and Divine truth are in their fullness, in their holiness, and in their power.39.
From all this it is evident that in the sense of the letter the Word is the very Word itself, for within this sense there are spirit and life, the spiritual sense being its spirit, and the celestial sense its life. This is what the Lord says: The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life (John 6:63). The Lord spoke His words before the world, and in the natural sense. The spiritual sense and the celestial sense without the natural sense which is the sense of the letter, are not the Word; for without it they are like spirit and life without a body; and are (as before said, n. 33) like a palace without a foundation.40.
The truths of the sense of the letter of the Word are in part not naked truths, but appearances of truth, and are as it were likenesses and comparisons taken from things such as exist in nature, and thus accommodated and adapted to the apprehension of the simple and of little children. But being correspondences they are receptacles and abodes of genuine truth; and are like enclosing and containing vessels, as a crystal cup encloses noble wine, and as a silver plate holds palatable food. They are also like garments which clothe, as swathings do an infant, and a pretty dress a maiden. They are also like the memory-knowledges [scientifica] of the natural man which contain within them perceptions and affections of truth of the spiritual man. The naked truths themselves which are enclosed, held, clothed, and contained, are in the spiritual sense of the Word; and the naked goods are in its celestial sense.  But let this be illustrated from the Word. Jesus said: Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, because ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may be clean also (Matt. 23:25-26). The Lord here spoke by means of ultimate things which are containants, and said "cup and platter"; and "cup" means wine, and "wine" the truth of the Word; and "platter" means food, and "food" the good of the Word. To "cleanse the inside of the cup and platter" means to purify by means of the Word the interior things which belong to will and thought and thus to love and faith. "That the outside may be clean also" means that in this way, exterior things, which are the actions and the conversation, will have been made pure, for these derive their essence from the interior things.  Again, Jesus said: There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in crimson and fine linen, and living in mirth and splendor every day; and there was a certain poor man, named Lazarus, who was laid at his porch, full of sores (Luke 16:19-20). Here also the Lord spoke by means of natural things that were correspondences, and contained spiritual things. The "rich man" means the Jewish nation, which is called "rich" because it possessed the Word, in which are spiritual riches. The "crimson and fine linen" with which he was clothed signify the good and truth of the Word; "crimson" its good, and "fine linen" its truth. To "live in mirth and splendor every day" signifies the delight they had in possessing and reading the Word. The "poor man Lazarus" means the Gentiles who had not the Word; and that these were despised and scorned by the Jews, is meant by Lazarus lying at the rich man's porch full of sores.  The reason the Gentiles are meant by "Lazarus" is that the Gentiles were beloved by the Lord, as Lazarus, who was raised from the dead was beloved by the Lord (John 11:3, 5, 36), and is called His friend (John 11:11), and reclined with the Lord at table (John 12:2). From the two foregoing passages it is evident that the truths and goods of the sense of the letter of the Word are as vessels and as garments for the naked truth and good that lie hidden in its spiritual and celestial senses.41.
Such being the Word in the sense of the letter, it follows that they who are in Divine truths, and in the faith that the Word within, in its bosom, is Divine holiness - and much more they who are in the faith that it is from its spiritual and celestial senses that the Word is Divine holiness - see Divine truths in natural light while reading the Word in enlightenment from the Lord. For the light of heaven (in which is the spiritual sense of the Word) flows into the natural light in which is its sense of the letter, and illumines man's intellectual called the rational, and causes him to see and recognize Divine truths, both where they stand in plain view, and where they lie concealed. With some these Divine truths flow in along with the light of heaven; sometimes even when they are not aware of it.42.
As, in its inmost bosom, from its celestial sense, our Word is like a flame that enkindles; and as, in its middle bosom, from its spiritual sense, it is like a light that enlightens; it follows that in its ultimate bosom, from its natural sense which has within it the two more interior senses, the Word is like a ruby and a diamond; like a ruby from its celestial flame, and like a diamond from its spiritual light. And as from its transparency the Word is like this in the sense of the letter, the Word in this sense of the letter is meant by the foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem; by the Urim and Thummim in Aaron's ephod; by the garden of Eden in which had been the king of Tyre; by the curtains and veils of the Tabernacle; and by the externals of the Temple at Jerusalem. But in its very glory the Word was represented by the Lord when He was transfigured.43.
That the truths of the Word's sense of the letter are meant by the foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21), follows from the fact that the "New Jerusalem" means the New Church as to doctrine (as has been shown in Doctrine of the Lord, n. 62-63); so that its "wall," and the "foundations of the wall," can mean nothing but the external of the Word which is the sense of the letter, for this is the source of doctrine, and through doctrine of the church, and this sense is like a wall with its foundations that encloses and protects a city. Concerning the wall of the New Jerusalem and its foundations we read in Revelation: The angel measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four cubits, which was the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. And the wall had twelve foundations, adorned with every precious stone. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst (Rev. 21:17-20). The number "144" signifies all the truths and goods of the church derived from doctrine that is drawn from the sense of the letter of the Word. The like is signified by "12." A "man" signifies intelligence; an "angel," Divine truth the source of intelligence; "measure," the quality of these; the "wall" and its "foundations," the sense of the letter of the Word; and the "precious stones," the truths and goods of the Word in their order, which are the source of doctrine, and through doctrine of the church.44.
The truths and goods of the sense of the letter of the Word are meant by the Urim and Thummim. The Urim and Thummim were on the ephod of Aaron, whose priesthood represented the Lord as to Divine good and as to the work of salvation. The garments of the priesthood or of holiness represented Divine truth from Divine good. The ephod represented Divine truth in its ultimate, thus the Word in the sense of the letter, for this, as before said, is Divine truth in its ultimate. Consequently the twelve precious stones bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel (which were the Urim and Thummim) represented Divine truths from Divine good in their whole complex.  Concerning these we read in Moses: They shall make the ephod of [gold], hyacinthine blue, and bright crimson, of scarlet double dyed, and fine linen intertwined. And thou shalt make a breastplate of judgment according to the work of the ephod; and thou shalt set it with settings of stones, four rows of stones: the first row a ruby, a topaz, and an emerald; the second row a chrysoprase, a sapphire, and a diamond; the third row a cyanus, an agate, and an amethyst; the fourth row a thalassius, a sardius, and a jasper. These stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel; the engravings of a signet according to his name shall be for the twelve tribes. And Aaron shall carry upon the breastplate of judgment the Urim and Thummim and let them be upon the heart of Aaron when he goeth in before Jehovah (Exod. 28:6, 15-21, 29-30).  What was represented by Aaron's garments - his ephod, robe, vest, miter, belt - has been unfolded in Arcana Coelestia on this chapter, where it is shown that the ephod represented Divine truth in its ultimate; the precious stones in it, truths pellucid from good; the twelve precious stones, all ultimate truths pellucid from the good of love in their order; the twelve tribes of Israel, all things of the church; the breast-plate, Divine truth from Divine good; the Urim and Thummim, the shining forth in ultimates of Divine truth from Divine good (for Urim means a shining fire; and Thummim, in the angelic language, means a shining forth, and in the Hebrew, entirety). Besides many other things, it is there shown also that answers were given by variegations of light and a simultaneous tacit perception, or by a living voice. From all this it is evident that these precious stones signified truths from good in the ultimate sense of the Word; nor are answers from heaven given by other means, for in this sense the Divine proceeding is in its fullness.  That precious stones and diadems signify Divine truths in their ultimates, such as are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, has been made very evident to me from precious stones and diadems in the spiritual world, among the angels and spirits there whom I have seen wearing them - I have seen them in their caskets also - and it has been given me to know that they correspond to truths in ultimates, and, what is more, that from these truths they exist and come into view. As these truths are signified by diadems and precious stones, John saw diadems Upon the head of the dragon (Rev. 12:3); Upon the horns of the beast (Rev. 13:1); And precious stones upon the harlot that sat on the scarlet beast (Rev. 17:4). Diadems and precious stones were seen upon the dragon, the beast, and the harlot, because these signify the people in the Christian world who are in possession of the Word.45.
The truths of the sense of the letter of the Word are meant by the precious stones in the garden of Eden, in which, in Ezekiel, the king of Tyre is said to have been. We read in Ezekiel: King of Tyre, thou sealest up thy sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the sardonyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the chrysoprase, and the emerald, and gold (Ezek. 28:12-13). "Tyre," in the Word, signifies the knowledges of truth and good; a "king," the truth of the church; the "garden of Eden," wisdom and intelligence from the Word; "precious stones," truths pellucid from good such as are in the sense of the letter of the Word. As the stones signify these truths, they are called his "covering." That the sense of the letter covers up the interiors of the Word, may be seen in a preceding chapter.46.
The sense of the letter of the Word is signified by the curtains and veils of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle represented heaven and the church, and therefore the form of it was shown by Jehovah upon Mount Sinai. Consequently all things in the Tabernacle - the lampstand, the golden altar for incense, and the table whereon were the loaves of faces - represented and consequently signified holy things of heaven and the church. The Holy of holies wherein was the ark of the covenant represented and consequently signified what is inmost of heaven and the church; and the Law itself written on the two tables of stone and enclosed in the ark signified the Lord as to the Word. Now, as external things derive their essence from internal things, and both of these from the inmost, which in this case was the Law, it follows that holy things of the Word were represented and signified by all things of the Tabernacle. Therefore the ultimate things of the Tabernacle which were the curtains and veils (and thus its coverings and containers), signified the ultimate things of the Word, which are the truths and goods of the sense of the letter. And because these ultimates of the Word were signified, All the curtains and veils were made of fine linen intertwined, of hyacinthine blue and bright-crimson, and of scarlet double dyed, with cherubim (Exod. 26:1, 31, 36). What the Tabernacle and all things in it represented and signified generally and specifically, has been unfolded in Arcana Coelestia on this chapter of Exodus. It is there shown that the "curtains" and "veils" represented external things of heaven and the church, and therefore of the Word; and that "fine linen" signified truth from a spiritual origin; "hyacinthine blue," truth from a celestial origin; "bright crimson," celestial good; "scarlet double dyed," spiritual good; and "cherubim," guards of the interior things of the Word.47.
The external things of the Temple at Jerusalem represented external things of the Word, which belong to the sense of its letter. This is because the Temple represented the same as did the Tabernacle, namely, heaven and the church, and consequently the Word. That the Temple at Jerusalem represented the Lord's Divine Human, He Himself teaches in John: Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up; He spake of the Temple of His Body (John 2:19, 21). Where the Lord is meant, there also is meant the Word, for the Lord is the Word. Now as the interior things of the Temple represented interior things of heaven and the church (and therefore of the Word), its exterior things represented and signified exterior things of heaven and the church, and therefore exterior things of the Word, which belong to the sense of its letter. Concerning the exterior things of the Temple we read: That they were built of whole stone, not hewn, and within of cedar; and that all its walls within were carved with cherubim, palm trees, and openings of flowers; and that the floor was overlaid with gold (1 Kings 6:7, 29-30); all of which things also signify external things of the Word, which are holy things of the sense of the letter.48.
The Word in its glory was represented by the Lord when He was transfigured. Concerning the Lord as transfigured before Peter, James, and John, we read: That His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became white as the light. That Moses and Elias appeared talking with Him. That a bright cloud overshadowed the disciples; and that a voice was heard out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him (Matt. 17:1-5). I have been instructed that the Lord then represented the Word; "His face that did shine as the sun," His Divine good; "His garments that became as the light," His Divine truth; "Moses and Elias," the historical and the prophetical Word; "Moses," the Word that was written by him and the historical Word in general, and "Elias," the prophetical Word; and the "bright cloud that overshadowed the disciples," the Word in the sense of the letter; and therefore a voice was heard from this cloud which said, "This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him." For all utterances and answers from heaven are made exclusively by means of ultimate things such as are in the sense of the letter of the Word. For they are made in fullness, from the Lord.49.
So far we have shown that the Word in the natural sense, which is the sense of the letter, is in its holiness and its fullness. Something shall now be said to show that in this sense the Word is also in its power. How great and of what nature is the power of Divine truth in the heavens and also on earth, is evident from what has been said in Heaven and Hell concerning the power of the angels of heaven (n. 228-233). The power of Divine truth is directed especially against falsities and evils, thus against the hells. The fight against these must be waged by means of truths from the sense of the letter of the Word. Moreover it is by means of the truths in a man that the Lord has the power to save him; for man is reformed and regenerated and is at the same time taken out of hell and introduced into heaven, by means of truths from the sense of the letter of the Word. This power the Lord took upon Himself, even as to His Divine Human, after He had fulfilled all things of the Word down to its ultimates.  Therefore when by the passion of the cross He was about to fulfill those which remained, He said to the chief priest, Hereafter ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62). The "Son of man" is the Lord as to the Word; the "clouds of heaven" are the Word in the sense of the letter; to "sit at the right hand of God" is omnipotence by means of the Word (as also in Mark 16:19). The Lord's power from the ultimate things of truth was represented by the Nazirites in the Jewish Church; and by Samson, of whom it is said that he was a Nazirite from his mother's womb, and that his power lay in his hair. Nazirite and Naziriteship also mean the hair.  That Samson's power lay in his hair, he himself made plain, saying, There hath not come a razor upon my head, because I have been a Nazirite from my mother's womb; if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man (Judges 16:17). No one can know why the Naziriteship (by which is meant the hair) was instituted, or whence it came that Samson's strength was from the hair, unless he knows what is signified in the Word by the "head." The "head" signifies the heavenly wisdom which angels and men have from the Lord by means of Divine truth; consequently the "hair of the head" signifies heavenly wisdom in ultimate things, and also Divine truth in ultimate things.  As, from correspondence with the heavens, this is the signification of the "hair," it was a statute for the Nazirites that: They should not shave the hair of their heads, because this is the Naziriteship of God upon their heads (Num. 6:1-21). And for the same reason it was ordained that: The high priest and his sons should not shave their heads, lest they should die, and wrath should come upon the whole house of Israel (Lev. 10:6).  As, on account of this signification, which is from correspondence, the hair was so holy, the Son of man, who is the Lord as to the Word, is described even as to his hairs: That they were white like wool, as white as snow (Rev. 1:14). In like manner the Ancient of days (Dan. 7:9). (On this subject see also above, n. 35.) In short, the reason why the power of Divine truth or of the Word is in the sense of the letter, is that there the Word is in its fullness and it is also because in that sense are, at the same time and together [simul], the angels of both the Lord's kingdoms and men on earth.50.
V THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH IS TO BE DRAWN FROM THE SENSE FO THE LETTER OF TH WORD, AND IS TO BE CONFIRMED THEREBY It has been shown in the preceding chapter that the Word in the sense of the letter is in its fullness, in its holiness, and in its power; and as the Lord is the Word (for He is the all of the Word), it follows that He is most of all present in the sense of the letter, and that from it He teaches and enlightens man. But these things shall be set forth in the following order: i. The Word cannot be understood without doctrine. ii. Doctrine must be drawn from the sense of the letter of the Word. iii. But the Divine truth which must be of doctrine appears to none but those who are in enlightenment from the Lord.
2-1 That Jehovah Himself spoke the word through the prophets, has been shown in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE LORD (n. 52, 53).
6-1 That there are two kingdoms of which the heavens consist, one of which is called the celestial kingdom, the other the spiritual kingdom, may be seen in the wok on Heaven and Hell (n. 20-28).
15-1 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]
18-1 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]
19-1 That is, the Divine in the act of proceeding. In the expression "Divine proceeding," "Divine" is not to be understood as an adjective qualifying "proceeding", but "proceeding" is to be taken as a verb (or participle) describing the act which the Divine there performs. Thus the expression does not mean a proceeding which is Divine, but a Divine that is in the act of proceeding forth. "Divine proceeding," thus understood, exactly translates Swedenborg's "Divinum procedens." [Translator]
26-1 Quoted from Spiritual Experiences (n. 3605), and De Verbo (n. 1); and repeated in the Apocalypse Revealed (n. 255), and in the True Christian Religion (n. 277). [Translator]
28-1 That is, "being," "becoming," and "coming forth." The "being" of a thing is what we call its existence; and therefore it was said by the ancients that "in God we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Here our being means the inmost of our life (Arcana Coelestia, 5605e). The "becoming" of a thing is its being taking form. And the "coming forth" of a thing is the presentation or manifestation of that thing as an actual reality. Thus the Latin word existere has a very different meaning from the English "exist," and cannot be translated by it without causing a complete misconception in the mind of the English reader. [Translator]
28-2 That is, the two prior degrees are in the ultimate degree in simultaneous order; for a full explanation of which see below at n. 38, and also Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom (n. 205-207). [Translator]
32-1 Although the treatise here named was never published as a separate work, the subjects of it are specially treated of in the first chapter of the True Christian Religion. See also the references to the same subjects in the Doctrine of the Lord (n. 65e), in the Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom (n. 9). [Translator.]