Isaiah 53

1 WHO hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him like a tender plant, and like a root from a dry ground: He hath no form, nor honour, that we should regard Him; nor beauty, that we should desire Him.

VERSE 1. ln this chapter, from beginning to end, the subject treated of is concerning the Lord’s temptations, thus concerning the state in which He was when He fought with the hells; for temptations are nothing else but combats against the hells. This state of temptations is here described by “bearing our sicknesses and sorrows,” by being “bruised for our iniquities,” &c. He is also here called “the Arm of Jehovah,” by which is signified the Divine Power. That by being “bruised and wounded for our transgressions,” &c., is signified a state of temptation, is evident, for on such occasion there are griefs, straitnesses, and desperations of mind, which thus torment. Such things are induced by the hells, for, in temptations, they assault the love itself of him against whom they fight; the love of everyone is the inmost principle of his life. The Lord’s love was the love of saving the human race, which love was the esse of His life; for the Divine [principle] in Himself was that Love. This is also described in another place in Isaiah, where the Lord’s combats are treated of, in these words:-“He said, Surely they are My people; therefore He became a Saviour, to them. In all their straitness He had straitness; on account of His love and His pity He redeemed them, and carried them all the days of eternity.” (lxiii. 8, 9.) That the Lord, when he was in the world, endured such temptations, is briefly described in the Evangelists, but more fully in the Prophets, and especially in the Psalms of David. It is only said in the Evangelists that “He was led away into the wilderness, and afterwards tempted by the devil,” and that “He was there forty clays, and with the beasts;” (Mark i. 12, 13; Matt. iv, 1.) but that He was in temptations, that is, in combats with the hells, from first childhood even to the end of His life in the world, He did not reveal; according to these words in Isaiah:-“He was oppressed [or sustained exaction], yet He opened not His mouth,” &c. His last temptation was in Gethsemane; (Matt. xxvi.; Mark xiv.] and afterwards the passion of the cross, by which He fully subdued the hells, as He Himself teaches in John:-“Father, deliver Me from this hour; but for this [causeJ came I to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name. There cnme forth a voice from heaven, [saying] I have both glorified it, and will glorify it. Then said Jesus, Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (xii. 27, 28, 31.) The “prince of this world” is the devil, thus the whole hell; to “glorify” is to make the Human [principle] Divine. The reason why mention is made only of “the temptation after forty days in the wilderness” is, because “forty days” signify and involve temptations to the full, thus of several years, as may be seen in A. C. 8098, 9437; the “wilderness” signifies hell, and the “beasts” with which He there fought, the diabolical crew. A. C. 9937.
To whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed?-The Humanity of the Lord is called in the Word “the Arm of Jehovah.” Several causes exist why God could not redeem mankind, that is, deliver them from damnation and hell, by any other process than that of assuming the Humanity. For redemption consisted in reducing the hells into subjection, and bringing the heavens into an orderly and arrangement, and afterwards renewing the church on earth; and there was no other possible means by which the Omnipotence of God could effect these purposes than by assuming the Humanity, just as there is no possibility for a man to work without hands and arms; therefore, in the Word, the Humanity is called “the Arm of Jehovah.” (Isa. xl. 10; liii. 1.) In like manner it is impossible for anyone to enter into a fortified city, and destroy the temples of its idols, unless he be furnished with mediate powers suited to such a design. It is also evident from the Word, that God, by means of His Humanity, was omnipotent in the accomplishment of that divine work; for God, who is in inmost, and thus in purest principles, could not possibly by any other means descend to ultimate or lowest principles, in which the hells are, and in which mankind were at that time; oomparatively as the soul cannot act without a body, or as it is impossible to conquer enemies while they remain out of sight, or while they cannot be approached and attacked with some kind of weapons, such as spears, shields, or guns. For God to have effected redemption without assuming the Humanity, would have been as impossible as for Europeans to subdue the Indies without soldiers and shipping; or as it is impossible to make trees grow by heat and light alone, without air for their transmission, and unless earth be formed for their production; yea, it would have been as impossible as for a man to catch fish by casting nets in to the air instead of the water, For Jehovah, as He is in Himself cannot by all His Omnipotence approach any devil in hell, or any devil on earth, so as to curb his fury, and subdue his violence, unless He be in ultimate as He is in first principles; and He is in ultimates in His Humanity. Therefore, in the Word, He is called “the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” T.C.R. 84.

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

Verses 3-5. A Man of sorrows [or pains];-our sicknesses He hath borne;-and by His wounds we are healed [or healing is given to us]. By “sicknesses” and “diseases” are meant spiritual diseases, which are evils destroying the life of the will of Good, and falses destroying the life of the understanding of Truth, that is, destroying tho spiritual life, which is the life of Faith and Charity. Natural “diseases” also correspond to such spiritual diseases; for every disease in the human race is from this cause, because from sin; every “disease” also corresponds to its own evil. The reason is, because the whole of the life of man is from the spiritual world; wherefore if his spiritual life sickens, evil is hence derived into his natural life, which there becomes a disease. Because diseases represented the iniquities and the evils of the spiritual life, therefore by the “diseases” which the Lord healed is signified deliverance from various kinds of the evil and the false which infested the church and the human race, and which would have brought upon them spiritual death; for divine miracles are distinguished from others by this, that they involve and regard states of the church and of the heavenly kingdom; on this account it was that the miracles of the Lord chiefly consisted in healing diseases. This is understood by the Lord’s words to the disciples sent by John:-“Go and shew John those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor hear the Gospel.” (Matt. xi. 4, 5.) Hence it is so often said that “the Lord healed all disease and all sickness among the people.” (Matt. iv, 23; ix. 35, and in many other passages.) A. C. 8364.

4 Surely our sicknesses He hath borne; and our sorrows, He hath carried them: yet we considered Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Verses 4, 6, 11. These words are said of the Lord; and the reason why “bearing iniquity” denotes to remove falses and evils, or sins, with those who are in Good, is, because the Lord was represented by “Aaron,” and all the work of salvation by his “office” or “priesthood.” Hence it is said of “Aaron,” who, as stated, represented the Lord, that “he bore the iniquity of the holy things.” (Exod. xxviii. 38.) That it is said of the Lord, that “He bore iniquities and sins for the human race,” is known in the church; but still it is unknown what is understood by “bearing iniquities and sins.” It is believed by some that it denotes that He took upon Himself the sins of the human race, and suffered Himself to be condemned even to the death of the cross; and that thus, because damnation for sins was cast upon Him, mortals are liberated from damnation; also that damnation was taken away by the Lord, through the fulfilling of the law, since the law would have damned everyone who did not fulfil it. But, by “bearing iniquity,” are not meant those things, since every man’s deeds remain with him after death, and then he is judged, according to their quality, either to life or to death; and therefore they cannot be taken away by transfer to another, who bears them. Hence it is evident that, by “bearing iniquities,” something else is meant, but what is meant may be manifest from the “bearing” itself of iniquities or of sins by the Lord; for the Lord bears those things when He fights for man against the hells, for man, of himself, cannot fight against them, but the Lord alone does this, also continually for every man, with a difference according to the reception of Divine Good and Truth. The Lord, when He was in the world, fought against all the hells, and altogether subdued them; hence, also, He was made “Justice;” thus He redeemed from damnation those who receive Divine Good and Truth from Himself. Unless this had been effected by the Lord, no flesh could have been saved; for the hells are continually with man, and have dominion over him so far as the Lord does not remove them; and He so far removes them as man desists from evils. He who once conquers the hells, conquers them to eternity; and that this might be effected by the Lord, He made His Human Divine. He, therefore, who alone fights for man against the hells, or, what is the same thing, against evils and falses, for these are from the hells,-He is said to “bear sins;” for He alone sustains that burden. The reason why, by “bearing sins,” is also signified the removal of evils and falses from those who are in Good, is, because this is a consequence: for so far as the hells are removed from man, so far evils and falses are removed, for the latter and the former, as was said, are from the hells. Evils and falses are sins and iniquities; how the case herein is, see what was shewn above, n. 9715, 9809, where the “merit” and “justice” of the Lord, and also “the subjugation of the hells” by Him, are treated of. A. C. 9937.

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way: and Jehovah hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.

Verse 5. These things are predicated of the Lord, who is evidently treated of in this chapter, and thereby are described the temptations which He underwent in the world, in order that He might subdue the hells, and reduce all things there and in the heavens to order. Those grievous temptations are understood by His being “wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities,” and by “the chastisement of our peace being upon Him;” salvation thereby is signified by being “healed by His wounds,” or by “healing being given to us by His wounds. By “peace,” therefore is meant heaven and life eternal, which is given to those who are conjoined with Him; for the human race could, by no means, have been saved, unless the Lord had reduced all things in the heavens and in the hells to order, and at the same time had glorified His Humanity, which things were accomplished by means of temptations admitted in His Humanity. A. E. 365.

7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth: as a lamb that is brought to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.

Verse 7. To be “oppressed” [or to suffer exaction] signifies temptations; to be “afflicted,” their grievousness; “not to open His mouth” signifies patience. A. E. 813.

8 From distress and from judgment He was taken: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people was the stroke upon Him.

Verse 8. He was cut off out of the land of the living, &c.-It is not possible that there can be more than one single Fountain of Life from which the life of all things is derived, and it is not possible that any life can exist, which is truly life, except by faith in the Lord, who is real essential Life itself; nor can faith exist, in which is life, except from Him, consequently except He be in it; wherefore, in the Word, the Lord alone is called “living,” and is named “the Living Jehovah.” (Jer. v. 2; xii. 16; xvi. 14, 15; xxiii. 7; Ezek. v. 11.) “Living for ever.” (Dan: iv, 34; Rev. iv. 10; v. 14; x. 6.) A “Fountain of Life.” (Psalm xxxvi. 8, 9.) A “Fountain of living waters.” (Jer. xvii, 13.) Wherefore heaven, which lives by or from Him, is called “the land of the living.” (Isa. xxxviii. 11; liii. 8; Ezek. xxvi. 20; xxxii. 23-27, 32; Psalm xxvii, 13; cxlii. 5.) And they are called “living” who are in faith in the Lord, as in David:-” Who holdeth our soul amongst the living.” (Psalm lxvi. 9.) And they who are in faith are said to be in “the Book of Lives;” (Psalm lxix. 28.) and in “the Book of Life.” (Rev. xiii. 8; xvii. 8; xx. 15.) Wherefore also they are said to be made to “live” who receive faith in Him. (Hosea vi. 2; Psalm lxxxv. G.) On the contrary, they who are not in faith are called “dead,” as in Isaiah:-“The dead shall not live, the deceased shall not rise, because Thou hast visited and destroyed them;” (xxvi. 14.) where the “dead” signify those who are puffed up with self-love, and to “rise” signifies to enter into life. They are also said to be “thrust through” [confossi]. (Ezek. xxxii. 23-31.) And hell is called “death.” (Isa. xxv. 8; xxviii. 15.) They are also called “dead” by the Lord. [Matt, iv. 16; John v. 25; viii. 21, 24,51,52.) A.C. 290.

9 That He might give the impious to their sepulchre, and the rich in their deaths; although He had done no violence, neither was there any deceit in His mouth.

Verse 9. The whole of this chapter treats concerning the Lord, and here concerning His victories over the hells. By “the impious, whom- He should give to their sepulchre,” are understood the evil who should be cast down into hell, which is manifestly called a “sepulchre” by reason of those who are there being spiritually dead; by “the rich, whom He should give ill their deaths,” are understood those of the church who are in falses from evil, who are called “rich” by reason of the knowledges of Truth and of Good which they have from the Word; falses from evil are signified by “deaths,” inasmuch as they who are in them are spiritually dead. A. E. 659.
He had done no violence, neither was there any deceit in His mouth.-In the Word “violence” is mentioned when holy things are violated by profaning them. Thus in Ezekiel:-” They shall eat their bread in anxiety, and drink their waters in desolation, that the land may be devastated of its fulness, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein;” (xii. 19.) the “bread” which they shall eat with anxiety are the celestial things, the “waters” which they shall drink in desolation are the spiritual things, to which “violence” had been offered, or which they bad profaned. Again, in Jonah:-” Let every one be converted from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands;” (iii. 8.) where an “evil way” is predicated of falses which are of the understanding, and “violence” of the evils which are of the will. Again, in Isaiah:-” He had done no violence, neither was there any deceit in His mouth;” (liii, 9.) where “violence” is said of those things which are of the will, and “deceit in the mouth” of those things which are of the understanding. A. C. 623.

10 Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him; He hath made Him infirm: [saying] If Thou shouldst make His soul guilt, He shall see [His] seed, He shall prolong [His] days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper by His hand.

Verse 10. The subject here treated of is also concerning the Lord, and His temptations, by which He subjugated the hells. The increasing grievousness of His temptations is described by “Jehovah ‘s being willing [or pleased] to bruise Him,” and by ” making Him infirm,” find the most grievous of all, which was the passion of the cross, is signified by “making His soul guilt;” by which is understood the last temptation whereby He fully subjugated the hells, and fully glorified His Human, whence comes redemption. The Divine Truth which afterwards proceeds from His Divine Human, and the salvation of all who receive Divine Truth, from Him, is signified by “He shall see [His] seed;” the eternal duration thereof is understood by “He shall prolong [His] days,”-to “prolong,” when predicated of the Lord, signifying eternal duration, and “days” states of light, which are states of illustration of all by Divine Truth. That this is from His Divine, for the salvation of mankind, is signified by “the will [or pleasure] of Jehovah shall prosper by His hand.” A. E. 768.
Verses 10, 11. These things are said of the Lord, who is treated of in the whole of this chapter. The temptations of the Lord, which were most grievous, because against the hells, are described by “Jehovah’s being willing [or pleased] to bruise Him,” and by “making Him infirm;” for by temptations the loves of the proprium are broken, thus the Lady is bruised and weakened. “If Thou shouldst make His soul guilt,” signifies if He undergo temptations even unto death. “He shall see [His] seed,” signifies that Divine Truth shall proceed from Him; “seed” denoting Truth, and, where it is predicated of the Lord, Divine Truth. “He shall prolong [His] days,” signifies Divine Good, which shall also proceed from Him; “long,” and thence to “prolong,” being predicated of Good, see above, n. 629; and “days” denoting states. “And the will [or pleasure] of Jehovah shall prosper by His hand,” signifies that thus all and every thing in the heavens and in the earths shall be kept in divine order. “Of the travail of His soul,” signifies by ternptations; “He shall see [the fruit], and be satisfied,” denotes glorification. These things are understood by those words in the supreme sense, in which the Lord is treated of; but in the respective sense by the same words is described the salvation of the human race, for which the Lord fought from Divine Love. It is said-“If Thou shouldst make His soul guilt,” as if it were a matter of doubt whether He should so make it; but this involves the same as what the Lord Himself says in John:-“I lay down My soul, and I take it again; no one taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This precept I have received from My Fa her.” (x. 17, 18.) The arcanum which lies hid in these words, no one can see but he who knows the nature of the temptations by which man is regenerated; for therein man is preserved in his liberty, from which it appears to him as if he fought from himself; yea, in temptations his spiritual liberty is stronger than out of them, for it is more interior; unless man by virtue thereof fought in temptations, he could not be made spiritual; for all liberty is of love, wherefore man then fights from the love of Truth aud thence from the love of eternal life: thus and no otherwise is the internal opened and man regenerated. From these few observations it may in some degree be seen what these words of the Lord involve, viz., that He fought from His own liberty, and at last laid down His soul, in order that He might do all things from His own proper power, and thence might become righteousness, from Himself which He could not have become except by virtue of His liberty; hence it is said-“I lay down My soul of Myself’; I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again. This commandment I have received of My Father.” They who are unacquainted with this arcanum, interpret these words like the Arians, saying that the Lord was not the actual, but the adopted Son of God, thus that lie was adopted because He was willing to lay down His soul, or undergo the death of the cross; not knowing that those words involve that the Lord, by virtue of His own proper power, fought from His Human against the hells, and overcame them, and by virtue of the same power glorified His Human, that is, united it to the essential Divine in Himself, and thereby made it Divine, which, without being left to Himself in absolute liberty as to the Human, could not possibly have been accomplished. From these considerations it is now evident why it is said in Isaiah-“If Thou shouldst make His soul guilt.” A. E. 900.

11 Of the travail of His soul He shall see [the fruit], and be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.

Verse 11. These things are also spoken concerning the Lord, who is manifestly treated of in the whole of this chapter, and indeed concerning His Divine Human. His combats with the hells, and subjugation of them, is siguified Ly “the labour [or travail] of His soul,” and by “His bearing their iniquities.” By bearing their iniquities is not understood that He transferred them into Himself, but that He admitted into Hirnself the evils which are from the hells in order that He might subdue them; this, therefore, is what is understood by “bearing iniquitie.” The consequent salvation of those who are in spiritual faith, which is the faith of chanty, is understood by its being said-“By His knowledge shall My righteous [or just] Servant justify many;” “knowledge” signifying Divine Truth, and thence Divine Wisdom and Intelligence; and “many” signifying all who receive, for “many,” in the Word, is predicated of Truths, as “great” is of Good, and hence “many ” denote all who are in Truths from Good from the Lord. The reason why it is said that “He justifieth them” is, because to “justify” signifies to save from Divine Good, whence also He is called “just;” and inasmuch as the Lord performed and effected those things from His Divine Human, He is called the “Servant of Jehovah;” hence it is evident that Jehovah calls His Divine Human His ” Servant,” from its being subservient and efficient. A. E. 409.
By His knowledge shall My righteous [or just] Servant justify many.—That the Human of the Lord was a ” Servant” before it was Divine is evident from many passages in the Prophets; the reason is, because the Human appertaining to the Lord was nothing else before He had put it off and made it Divine. The Human which appertained to Him was from the mother, consequently it was infirm, having with it an hereditary principle from the mother, which He overcame by temptation-combats, find entirely expelled, insomuch that nothing remained of the infirm and hereditary principle derived from the mother; yea, at last nothing which was from the mother remained, so that He totally put off everything maternal, to such a degree as to be no longer her son, according to what He Himself says in Mark:—“They said unto Jesus, Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren without seek Thee. And He answered them, saying, Who is My mother and My brethren? And looking round upon them who sat about Him, He said, Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, he is My brother, My sister, and My mother,” (iii. 32-35; Matt. xii. 46-49; Luke viii. 20, 21.) And when He put off this Humanity, He put on the Divine Humanity, by virtue whereof He called Himself the “Son of Man,” as He frequently does in the Word of the New Testament, and also the “Son of God;” and by the “Son of Man” is signified the essential Truth, and by the “Son of God” the essential Good which appertained to His Human Essence when made Divine; the former state was that of the Lord’s humiliation, but the latter of His glorification, concerning which, see above, n. 1999. In the former state, viz., that of humiliation, when He had yet an inflrm Humanity appertaining to Him, He adored Jehovah as one distinct from Himself, and indeed as a “Servant,” for the Humanity is nothing else in respect to the Divinity, wherefore also, in the Word, “Servant” is predicated of the Humanity, as in Isaiah xlii, 1, 19 (see the Exposition); and in liii. 11:-“By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many;” in the whole of which chapter the state of the Lord’s humiliation is treated of. A. C.2159.

12 Therefore will I divide to Him [a portion] among the many, that with the mighty He may divide the spoil: because He poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Verse 12. To “divide the spoil,” when said of the Lord, is to give [to the faithful] a possession in the heavenly kingdom; for by the “spoil” are signified those who are snatched away and delivered by the Lord; hence by “dividing the spoil” is signified distribution, namely, amongst those who are in heaven, which is the same as their possession [or inheritance] in the Lord’s kingdom. That “rapine,” “spoil,” and “prey” are predicated of the Lord in the Word, is from the fact that He snatches away and delivers the good, as is evident from various passages, as from “Gen.xlix. 9:-“Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up;” by which is signified that by the Lord is deliverance from hell by the celestial [principle]. (See A. C. 6368.) Again:-“Like as the lion roareth, even the young lion, over his prey, so shall Jehovah of Hosts descend to fight for the mountain of Zion.” (Isa. xxxi. 4.) That to “eat the prey or the spoil” is [in a good sense] to appropriate to one’s self the Goods which have been snatched away from evils, is evident from the prophetic declaration of Balaarn in Moses:-“Behold, the people shall rise up as an old lion, and shall lift up himself as a young lion; he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey.” (Numb. xxiii. 24.) From these words it is evident that “rapine,” “spoil,” and “prey” is the snatching away, and the deliverance of the good by the Lord. A. C. 6442, 6443. See also above, Chap. v. 29, 30; xxxi. 4, Exposition.
Because He poured out His soul unto death, &c.-That the Lord, during His abode in the world, passed through two states, called a state of exinanition and a state of glorification, is a Truth acknowledged in the church. The former state, or that of exinanition, is described in many passages in the Word, particularly in the Psalms of David, also in the Prophets, and more especially by Isaiah in the above passage. This same state was His state of humiliation before the Father, for He therein “prayed to the Father,” and speaks of “doing His will,” and ascribes all that He did or said to the Father. T. C. R. 104.
And He made intercession for the transgressors.– There are four terms, namely, “mediation,” “intercession,” “atonement” [expiatio], and “propitiation,” expressive of the grace of the One only GOD in His Humanity. God the Father can never be approached, nor can He come to any man, because He is infinite and dwells in His Esse, which is Jehovah, from which Esse, if He should come to a man, He would consume him or decompose him as fire does wood when it reduces it to ashes. This is evident from what He said to Moses, who desired to see Him:-“No man shall see Me, and live ;” (Exod, xxxiii. 20.) and the Lord says-” No man hath seen God at any time, except the Son, who is in the bosom of the Father;” (John i. 18; Matt, xi. 27.) also, that “No one hath heard the voice of the Father, or seen His shape.” (John v. 37.) It is written, indeed, that Moses “saw Jehovah face to face, and conversed with Him, as one man does with another;” but this was done by the medium of an angel, as was the case also with Abraham and Gideon. Now, since God the Father in Himself is such, therefore He was pleased to assume the Humanity, and in this Humanity to admit mankind to Himself, so as to hear them and converse with them; and this Humanity it is which is called the “Son of God,” and which mediates, intercedes, propitiates, and atones [or expiates]. I will explain, therefore, what these four terms, predicated of the Humanity of God the Father, signify. ” Mediation” signifies that the Humanity is the medium by which a man may come to God the Father, and God the Father to him, ang thus be his Teacher and Guide unto salvation: therefore the “Son of God,” by whom is meant the Humanity of God the Father, is called “Saviour,” and on earth “Jesus,” that is, Salvation. “Intercession” signifies perpetual mediation; for Love itself, the properties of which are mercy, clemency, and grace, perpetually intercedes, that is, mediates for those who do His commandments, and who are thus the objects of His divine love. “Atonement” signifies the removal of sins, into which a man would rush headlong were he to approach Jehovah unclothed with the Humanity. “Propitiation” signifies the operation of clemency and grace, to prevent a man from falling into damnation by sin, and, at the same time, to guard against the profanation of holiness; this was signified by the “propitiatory ” or “mercy-seat” over the Ark in the Tabernacle. It is acknowledged that God spoke in His Word according to appearances, as when it is said “He is angry,” that “He avenges,” that “He tempts,” that “He punishes,” that “He casts into hell,” that “He condemns,” yea, that “He does evil;” when the truth is, that God is never angry with anyone, He never avenges, tempts, punishes, casts into hell, or condemns. Such things are as far from God as hell is from heaven, and infinitely farther. They are forms of speech, then, used only according to appearances; so, also, but in a different sense, are the terms “atonement,” “propitiation,” “intercession,” and “mediation; for these are forms of speech expressive of the approach which is opened to God, and of the grace communicated from God by means of His Humanity, which terms being misunderstood, men have divided God into three, and upon that division have grounded all the doctrine of the church, and so falsified the Word. Hence has arisen “the abomination of desolation” foretold by the Lord in Daniel, and again in Matt. xxiv. T. C. R. 135.


There are some within the church who believe that the Lord, by the passion of the cross, took away sins and satisfied the Father, and thus did the work of redemption; some, also, that He transferred upon Himself the sins of those who have faith in Him, that He carried them, and cast them in to “the depth of the sea,” that is, into hell. It may, therefore, be expedient to say, first, what is meant by bearing or carrying iniquities; and afterwards, what is meant by taking them away. By “bearing or carrying iniquities,” nothing else is meant, but sustaining grievous temptations, also suffernug the Jews to do with Him as they had done with the Word, and to treat Him in like manner, because He was the Word; for the church, which at that time was amongst the Jews, was altogether devastated. And it was devastated by this, that they perverted all things of the Word, insomuch that there was not any Truth remaining among them; wherefore neither did they acknowledge the Lord. This was meant and signified by all things of the Lord’s passion. In like manner it was done with the prophets, because they represented the Lord as to the Word, and hence as to the church; and the Lord was the real Prophet Himself.
The Lord’s being “betrayed by Judas,” therefore, signified that He was betrayed by the Jewish nation, amongst whom at that time the Word was, for Judas represented that nation. His being “seized and condemned by the chief priests and elders,” signified that He was so treated by all that church. His being “beaten with rods, His face spit upon, being struck with fists, and smitten on His head with a reed,” signified that it was so done by them with the Word, as to its Divine Truths, which all treat of the Lord. By “crowning Him with thorns,” was meant that they falsified and adulterated those Truths; by their “dividing His garments, and casting lots upon His coat,” was understood that they dispersed all the Truths of the Word, but not its spiritual sense, which sense was signified by the Lord’s “coat ;” by their “crucifying Him,” was understood that they destroyed and profaned the whole Word; by their “offering Him vinegar to drink,” was signified that they offered Him merely things falsified and false, wherefore He did not drink it, and then said-“It is flnished! By their “piercing His side,” was meant that they absolutely extinguished all the Truth of the Word and all its Good; by His being “buried” was signified the rejection of the Human Principle remaining from the mother; and by His “rising again on the third day,” was denoted His glorification. Similar things are signified by those things in the Prophets, and in David, where they are predicted. “Wherefore after that He was scourged and led forth, carrying the crown of thorns, and the purple garment put on by the soldiers, He said, Behold the Man!” (John xix. 1-5.) This was said because by the “Man” was signified the church; for by the “Son of Man” is understood the Truth of the church, thus the Word. From these considerations it is now evident that, by “bearing iniquities,” is meant to represent and effigy in Himself sins against the Divine Truths of the Word. That the Lord sustained and suffered such things as the Son of Man, and not as the Son of God, will be seen in what follows; for the “Son of Man” signifies the Lord as to the Word.
It may now be expedient to say something concerning what is meant by taking away sins. By “taking away sins,”, the like is understood as by redeeming man and saving him, for the Lord came into the world that man might be saved; without His coming no mortal could have been reformed and regenerated, thus saved; but this can now be effected, since the Lord has taken away all power from the devil, that is, from hell, and has glorified His Human Principle, that, is, has united it to the Divine Principle of His Father. Unless these things had been effected, no man could have received any Divine Truth so as to abide with him, and still less any Divine Good; for the devil, who before had superior power, would have plucked them away from the heart. From these considerations it is evident that the Lord, by the passion of the cross, did not take away sins, but that He takes them away, that is, removes them with those who believe in Him, by living according to His precepts, as also the Lord teaches in Matthew: “Do not suppose that I am come to dissolve the Law and the Prophets, Whosoever shall loosen the least of these precepts, and teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of the heavens; but he who doeth and teacheth, shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens.” (v. 17, 19.) Everyone may see from reason alone, if he be in any illustration, that sins cannot be taken away from man, except by actual repentance, which consists in man seeing his sins, and imploring the Lord’s aid, and desisting from them. To see, believe, and teach anything else, is not from the Word, neither is it from sound reason, but from lusts and a depraved will, which are the selfhood of man, by virtue whereof the understanding is infatuated. Doct. of the Lord. 15–17.

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