Isaiah 48

1 HEAR ye this, O house of Jacob; ye, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah; who swear by the name of Jehovah, and who make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in justice:

VERSE 1. The “house of Jacob and Israel” is the church; to “come forth out of the waters of Judah” is from doctrine out of the Word, for the church is from thence. That “waters” denote Truths of doctrine from the Word, may be seen above, Chap. xii. 3, Exposition. A.. E. 119.
The “waters of Judah” signify the Truths which are from the Good of love to the Lord; the Truths thence derived are the essential Goods of charity, which are called spiritual Goods, and which make the spiritual church, the internal of which is “Israel,” and the external of which is the “house of Jacob.” Hence it is evident what is meant by the “house of Jacob, called by the name of Israel, and come forth out of the Waters of Judah.” A. C. 3654.
Verses 1, 2. Who are called by the name of Israel, &c.-To “call by a name” signifies quality,· (see Chap. iv. 1, Exposition.) and to “call,” without mentioning a name, signifies, in the internal sense, to be of such a quality, as in Isaiah:-“For they are called of the holy city;” (xlviii, 2.) where, to be ” called of [or from] the holy city,” is to be of such a quality [as is signified by the holy city]. And in Luke: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; (i. 32.) to be, “called the Son of the Highest,” is to be [the Son of the Highest]. A. C. 3421.
Who swear by the name of Jehovah.-As to “swearing,” see above, Chap. xlv. 23, Exposition.

2 For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; Jehovah of Hosts is His name.

Verse 2. Jerusalem was called the “holy city,” because it signified the church as to the doctrine of Truth, and the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord is what is called “Holy.” That that “city,” without such a representation, and consequent signification, was by no means holy, but rather profane, may be manifest from this consideration, that they rejected and crucified the Lord there; wherefore it is also called “Sodom and Egypt.” (Rev. xi. 8.) But whereas it signified the church as to the doctrine of Truth, it was called not only the “holy city,” but also the “city of God,” and the “city of the great King, ” A.. E. 223.
See above, Chap. i. 1, Exposition, why “Jerusalem” signified the church as to doctrinals.
Jehovah of Hosts.-See Chap. i. 9, 24, Exposition.

3 The former things from the beginning I declared: and from My mouth they went forth, and I made them known: suddenly I effected them, and they came to pass.

Verse 3. [The “former things” which the Lord declared, and which “carne to pass,” relate to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, and which were fulfilled according to the divine predictions. These things or events are appealed to, in order to shew to the Jews captive in Babylon, that their deliverance would also be effected, and that they should trust in the Lord for this purpose; but their unbelieving spirit is denoted by “their neck being a sinew of iron,” and who would not believe these divine declarations, until at length. “suddenly,” unexpectedly, the judgment would come. For although, in the literal sense, the judgment coming upon Babylon, through the attack of Cyrus, is understood, yet, in the primary idea, or in the spiritual sense, the judgment upon the church denoted by ” Babylon” is meant.]

4 Because I knew that thou wast obstinate, and that thy neck was a sinew of iron, and that thy forehead was brass;

Verse 4. In this and in the following passages, the “forehead” signifies that which is opposite to the Good of love, viz., the evil of the love [of self], and thence what is hard, obstinate, impudent, and infernal;-“hard” or “obstinate” in the above passage, also in Ezekiel :-” The house of Israel will not obey Me; for the whole house of Israel are obstinate in the forehead, and hard in the heart.” (iii. 7, 8.) “Impudent ” in Jeremiah:-“The forehead of a woman that is a harlot remaineth with thee; thou hast refused to be ashamed.” (iii. 3.) And “infernal” in the Apocalypse, xiii, 16; xiv. 9-11 j xvi.2. For as the Good of love is celestial, and thence mild, patient, and modest, so the evil opposite to that Good
is infernal, hard, obstinate, and impudent. A. E. 427.

5 Therefore I declared it unto thee from the beginning; before it came to pass, I made thee to hear it: lest thou shouldst say, Mine idol hath done them; and my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.
6 Thou didst hear it [beforehand]; behold, the whole [is accomplished]: and will ye not declare it? From this time I make thee to hear new things, and hidden things which thou hast not known.
7 They are created now, and not from the beginning; and before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldst say, Behold, I knew them!

Verse 5. That by “idols” and “graven and molten images” are signified doctrines from man’s own intelligence, and not from the Word, see above, Chap. xl. 18-20; xliv. 9-18; Exposition.
Since falses and evils of doctrine, which are signified by “graven and molten images,” are formed from man’s own intelligence, when under the guidance of his self-love, therefore they are called in the Word “the work of man’s hands,” “the work of the hands of an artificer,” and “the work of the hands of the workman or smith,” as may be seen from Hosea xiii. 2; Deut. xxvii. 15; Psalm cxv, 4; cxxxv. 15. A. C. 10,406.

8 Yea, thou hast not heard; yea, thou hast not known; yea, from the first thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thouwouldst deal very treacherously, and that thou wast called a transgressor from the womb.

Verse 8. That to “see” signifies faith in science and in understanding, and to “hear,” faith in obedience or in the will, is from correspondences in the other life, and hence from significatives. Those who are intellectual and in faith hence, belong to the province of the eye, and those who are obedient and in faith hence, belong to the province of the ear. This may be seen from the following passages in this Prophet, namely, i. 19; l. 4, 5; lv. 2, 3. A. C. 3869.
I knew that thou wouldst deal very treacherously, and that thou wast called a transgressor from the womb.-These things are said of the “house of Jacob,” by which is signified the church perverted. To “deal treacherously” signifies against the revealed Truths; and to be “called by the name of a transgressor from the womb” signifies recession from Truths from the first time in which reformation could be effected. By being “called by a name” is signified quality as to such things; see above, verse 2. A. E. 710.

9 For the sake of My name I will defer Mine anger; and for the sake of My praise I will restrain it from thee, that I may not cut thee off.

Verse 9. I will defer Mine anger, &c.-In respect to “anger,” when ascribed to the Lord, see Chap. ix, 12, 17, 21, Exposition.

10 Behold, I have purified thee, but not for silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
11 For Mine own sake, for Mine own sake, will I do it; for how should [My name] be blasphemed? and My glory I will not give to another.

Verse 10. “Affiiction” means temptations, for in the Lord’s Word nothing else is signified by “afflictions.” (A. C. 1846.) What “temptations” are, see Chap. xliii. 2, Exposition.
Verse 11.What is signified by “profaning and blaspheming the Lord’s name,” see Chap. xxxvii. 6, 17, 23, 24, Exposition.
My glory I will not give to another.–“Glory,” in the supreme sense, is the Divine Human, thus also the Divine Truth, because this is from the Divine Human, “Not to give glory to another” is only to the Divine Human, which is One with Himself. A. C. 5922.
The reason why” glory” signifies the Divine Truth in its fulness, is, because everything magnificent in heaven is from the light which proceeds from the Lord, and the light proceeding from Him as the
Sun of heaven is in its essence Divine Truth. T. C. R. 780.

12 Hearken unto Me, O Jacob and Israel, whom I have called: I am He; I am the First, and I am the Last:
13 Yea, My hand hath founded the earth; and My right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

Verses 12, 13. By the “foundation of the world,” (Apoc. xvii. 8.) in the sense of the letter, or in the natural sense, is understood the creation of the world, but in the internal spiritual sense is understood the establishment of the church; for the spiritual sense treats of spiritual things, and the natural sense of natural things, which are of the world. Hence it is that by the “creation of heaven and earth,” in the first chapter of Genesis, is described, in the spiritual sense, the new creation, or the establishment of the first or most ancient church on this earth, as may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia. Moreover by “to create,” in the Word, is signified to reform, and by “Creator,” the Lord as the Reformer and Saviour. The establishment of the church is understood by the “foundation of the world,” in Matt. xxv. 34; Luke xi. 50; John xvii, 24. That the establishment of the church is understood by the “foundation of the earth,” is further evident from the passages in the Word where “founding the earth” and the “foundation of the earth” are mentioned, by which the foundation or the creation of the earth is not meant, but the establishment or the creation of the church upon the earth, as in Zechariah:- “Jehovah stretcheth forth the heavens, and foundeth the earth and formeth the spirit of man within him;” (xii. 1.) where by “stretching forth the heavens” and by “founding the earth,” is not understood to stretch forth the visible heaven, and to found the habitable earth, but the church, as to its internals, which are called spiritual things, and as to its externals, which are called natural things; to “found” the one, and to “extend” the other, is to establish [the church], wherefore it is also said that “He formeth the spirit of man within him,” by which his reformation and regeneration are signified. And in Isaiah xlviii. 12, 13, where by “My hand hath founded the earth, and My right hand hath spanned the heavens,” &c., are signified similar things. A. E. 1057.
I am the First, and I am the Last: yea, My hand hath founded the earth; and My right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.-By the “hand” and the “right hand” of Jehovah, or of the Lord, is understood Omnipotence; by “the earth which He foundeth,” is denoted the ultimate; “the heaven which He stretches out or extends,” is that which is between the First and the Last; to “call them, that they may stand up together,” is to hold all interior things together by the ultimate, in connection and in form, that they may regard one end. The one End which they should regard is “the First and the Last,” who is the Lord, us is evident from Apoc. ii. 8, where He is expressly called “the First and the Last.” A. C. 10,044. See also Chap. xliv. 6, Exposition.

14 Gather yourselves together, all of you, and hear: which among them hath declared these things? Jehovah hath loved him: and He will execute His pleasure on Babylon; and His arm on the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he will make his way prosperous.

Verses 14, 20. He will execute His pleasure on Babylon;-Come ye forth fron Babylon, &c.-1n respect to “Babylon,” and its significance in the Word, see above, Chap. xiii. and xiv., Exposition.

16 Come near unto Me, and hear ye this: From the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time when it began to be, there am I. And now the Lord Jehovih hath sent Me, and His Spirit.

Verse 16. The Lord Jehovih.-What is understood when the Lord is called by this name, see Chap. iii. 15, note and Exposition; and what by His “Spirit,” see Chap; xi. 2, 3, Exposition.

17 Thus saith Jehovah, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am Jehovah, thy God; who teacheth thee how to profit; who leadeth thee in the way wherein thou shouldst go.

Verse 17. That it was JEHOVAH Himself who descended and assumed Human nature for the purpose of effecting the work of Redemption, see above, Chap, xliii. 11, Exposition.

18 O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been like a river, and thy justice as the waves of the sea:

Verses 18, 22. Forasmuch as ” peace” can only exist with those who live according to thew precepts of the Lord, and not with those who do not so live, therefore it is said-“O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments l then had thy peace been like a river, and thy justice as the waves of the sea. There is no peace, saith Jehovah, to the wicked.” “Peace like a river,” signifies in abundance; “justice as the waves of the sea,” signifies fructification of Good by Truths,-” justice,” in the Word, being predicated of Good, and the “sea” of Truths. A. E. 365. In the Word mention is frequently made of “keeping and doing the commandments of God, and His precepts.” By “doing the precepts of God” is understood the same as by loving the Lord above all things, and our neighbour as ourselves; for whatever man inwardly, or from the heart, loves, that be wills, and what he wills, that he does ; and to love God is to love His precepts, these being of God, insomuch that they are God. Hence it may appear how little the followers of Faith alone know what “love” is; they announce or affirm that faith lives from love, and that faith is dead without love, and yet tbey do not know that “love” and “deeds” are one; they say also that in faith there is love, and yet they are ignorant that there can be no “love” in “faith,” if they do not live according to the precepts of the Lord contained in the Word; and that it is from thence, and from no other source whatever, that there can be any “love” in “faith,” except what is natural only, which is not the love of the Lord and of the neighbour, but the love of self and of the world, and these loves are altogether destructive of faith, yea, they falsify the Truths which appertain to genuine Faith, which are contained in the Word. A.E. 894.
Inasmuch as the church at this day does not know that conjunction with the Lord makes heaven, and that conjunction is effected by the acknowledgment that He is the God of heaven and earth, and at the same time by a life according to His precepts, it may therefore be expedient to say somothing on the subject. It may be asked by him who is uninstructed in this case-” What is conjunction ? How can acknowledgment and life make conjunction? What need is there of these things, when everyone may be saved by mercy alone? What necessity for any other medium of salvation but faith alone? Is not God merciful and omnipotent?” But let such an one know that in the spiritual world knowledge and acknowledgment make all presence, and that the affection which is of love makes all conjunction; for spaces in that world are nothing else but appearances according to the similitudes of minds, that is, of affections and consequent thoughts; wherefore when anyone knows another either from reputation, or from communication with him, or from conversation, or from affinity, whilst he thinks of him from the idea of that knowledge, he is presented to view, although he was a thousand miles off as to appearance; and if any one loves another whom he is acquainted with, he dwells with him in one society, and if he loves him inmostly, in one house. This is the state of all throughout the spiritual world, and it derives its origin from this circumstance, that the Lord is present with everyone according to faith, and conjoined according to love; faith and the consequent presence of the Lord is given by the knowledge of Truths from the Word, especially concerning the Lord Himself there, but love and consequent conjunction is given by a life according to His precepts, for the ·Lord says-“He that hath My precepts, aud doeth them, he it is who loveth Me; and I will love hirn, and make abode with him,” &c. (John xiv. 2l-24.) But in what manner this is effected, it may also be expedient to say. The Lord loves everyone, and is willing to be conjoined to him, but He cannot be conjoined so long as man is in the delight of evil, as in the delight of hatred and revenge; in the delight of adultery and whoredom, in the delight of defrauding or stealing under any pretence whatever, in the delight of blaspheming and lying, and in the coucupiscences of the love of self and of the world; for everyone who is in those evils, is in consort with devils who are in hell. The Lord, indeed, loves them even there, but He cannot be conjoined with them, unless the delights of those evils be removed; and they cannot be removed by the Lord, unless man explores himself, so as to know his own evils, acknowledging and confessing them before the Lord, and being willing to desist from them, and thus doing the act of repentance. This man ought to do as from himself, because he is not sensible that be does anything from the Lord; and this has been given to man, because conunction, in order to be conjunction, must be reciprocal, of man with the Lord, and of the Lord with man. So far, therefore, as evils with their delights are thus removed, so far the love of the Lord enters, which, as was said, is universal towards all; and in such case man is withdrawn from hell, and brought into heaven. A. R. 937.

19 And thy seed had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof: his name should not have been cut off, nor destroyed from before Me.

Verse 19. “Seed as the sand” signifies that if the church had obeyed the Lord’s precepts, its Good would have so much increased; and “the offspring of thy bowels” its Truths in like manner, for by “the issue or the offspring of thy bowels” are signified those who are born of the Lord, or who are in love to the Lord and in charity to their neighbour. (See also Chap. lxiii, 15, Exposition.) A. C. 1803.
His name should not have been cut off, nor destroyed from before Me.-The “cutting off, and destroying of the name before Jehovah,” denotes the quality of the state by which there is conjunction, which state is the spiritual state of those who are of the church which is signified by “Israel.” A. E. 148.

20 Go ye forth from Babylon; flee ye from the Chaldeans with the voice of singing: declare ye this, and make it heard; utter it forth even to the end of the earth: say ye, Jehovah hath redeemed His servant Jacob;

Verse 20. As to “Babylon” and “Chaldea,” see Chap. xiii., xiv.; also xliii, 14; xlvii. 1, Exposition.
Verse 20, 21. Jehovah hath redeemed His servant Jacob; they shall not thirst in the deserts, through which He unll make them go, yea, He will cleave the rock, &c.-That the “Rock” in Horeb, from which the waters flowed, signified the Lord, is known in the church, [1 Cor. x, 4.] but that it signified the Lord as to Faith, and also Faith from the Lord, [was shewn above, Chap, xvi. 1, Exposition.] A. C. 8581.

21 They shall not thirst in the deserts, through which He will make them go: He will cause waters from the rock to flow for them; yea, He will cleave the rock, and the waters shall gush forth.

Verse 21. He will cause waters from the rock to flow for them, &c.”Rock,” in this passage, signifies the Lord as to Divine Truth, or, what is the same thing, Divine Truth from the Lord. A. E. 411.

22 There is no peace, saith Jehovah, to the wicked.

Verse 22. All restlessness arises from what is evil and false, and all peace from what is Good and True. At this day scarcely anyone knows what “Peace” denotes, when it is named in the Word, as in the benediction, “May Jehovah lift up His face upon thee, and give thee peace!” (Numb. vi. 26, and elsewhere.) Almost everyone believes that “peace” consists in security from enemies, and in domestic and social tranquillity, nevertheless this peace is not there meant, but a “peace” which immensely transcends that peace, and which is the heavenly “peace” spoken of just above. Noone can be fifted with this “peace” but he who is led of the Lord, and is in the Lord, that is, in heaven, where the Lord is all in all; for heavenly “peace” flows in when the lusts arising from the love of self and of the world are taken away, inasmuch as these lusts are what take away “peace,” for they infest the interiors of man, and cause him at length to place rest in restlessness and peace in disturbance, because his delight is in evils. So long as man is in such evils he cannot in anywise know what “peace” is; yea, he so long believes that the above “peace” is a thing of nought; and if anyone says that the above “peace” then comes to perception when the delights arising from the love of self and of the world are removed, he ridicules the idea, and the reason is, because he places peace in the delight of evil which is opposite to “peace.” Inasmuch as “peace” is of this description, viz., the inmost of all happiness and blessedness, and thence the universal ruling principle in every particular, therefore the ancients adopted a common formula of speech, and said-“Peace be to you!” when they meant to wish anyone’s welfare, and inquired whether he had “peace,” when they meant to ask whether it.was well with him. A. C. 5662.
In respect to heavenly “peace,” its origin and its nature, see above, Chap. ix. 6, Exposition.

Author: Emanuel Swedenborg [Compiled by J. H. Smithson 1860]