Isaiah 66

1 THUS saith Jehovah: The heavens are My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is this house which ye build for Me ? and where is this place of My rest?

VERSE 1. The “heavens” are things celestial and spiritual, consequently inmost things. both of the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens, and of the Lord’s kingdom in the earth, or in the church, and also with every individual man who is a kingdom of the Lord, or a church; consequently the “heavens” denote likewise all things appertaining to love and charity, and faith grounded therein, as also of things appertaining to internal worship, and in like manner all things appertaining to the internal sense of the Word; all these things are heavens, and are called “the throne of the Lord.” But the ” earth” denotes all inferior things corresponding to these internal or superior things, as inferior rational and natural things, whereof all things celestial and spiritual are predicated by reason of correspondence; these inferior things are such as are in the inferior heavens, and also in the church, and in external worship, and likewise such as are in the literal sense of the Word; in short, all things which proceed from internal things, and are fixed and exhibited in things external, as being things natural, are called “earth,” and “the Lord’s footstool.” What is meant by “heaven” and “earth,” in the internal sense, may be seen, n. 82; what by the “new heaven” and the “new earth,” n. 2117; and that man is a “little heaven,” see n. 911, 978. A. C. 2162.

2 For all these things My hand hath made; and all these things exist [by Me], saith Jehovah: and to him will I look, even to him that is humble and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at My Word.

Verse 2. As to “creation,” and as to the end for which it exists, see Chap. xliii. 1, 7, Exposition.
To him will I look, even to him that is humble and of a contrite spirit.-Good and Truth from the Lord can flow in into a humble and contrite heart, which acknowledges that in itself there is nothing but evil, and in the Lord nothing but Good; for in this acknowledgment there is the annihilation of self, thus a state of aversion and absence from self. Thus they who are averse to all that is evil and false, because it is from themselves, and in the affection of all that is Good and True, because it is from the Lord, are in humiliation, and in a state of receiving Good and Truth from the Lord, A merely external humiliation is not the humiliation of acknowledgment, for the latter cannot exist without the correspondence of the external and internal, and thus, their conjunction. Unless a man humbles himself by acknowledging that he is nothing but evil, he is in merit and in self-righteousness; and as Good cannot then flow in, he cannot be withheld from the evils of his proprium, The Lord requires humiliation and adoration, not for the sake of Himself, but for the sake of man, who is thus brought into a state of receiving Good, and of being separated from the love of self and its evils. By “humbling himself” is denoted that a man ought to compel himself to submit to Divine Good and Divine Truth. A.C.3994. See also A. C. 1937, 1947, 4956, 5420, 5758, 5957, 8263.
[To “tremble at the Lord’s Word,” is to come into this state of humiliation.]

3 He that slayeth an ox, smiteth a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, beheadeth a dog; he that maketh an oblation, [offereth] swine’s blood; he that offereth incense, blesseth an idol: yea, they have chosen these things in their own ways; and in their abominations their soul delighteth.

Verse 3. To “slay or to sacrifice an ox,” and to “smite a man,” signify to worship God in externals, and nevertheless to reject all Truth; by “sacrificing an ox” is signified worship from those things which represented natural Good; for an “ox” denotes natural Good; and by “smiting a man. ” is meant to reject and to deny the Truth, “man,” in the Word, denoting Truth. To “offer incense,” and to “bless an idol [or vanity],” signify to worship God from such things as represented spiritual Good, and notwithstanding, to love evil and the false, and to imbibe them; an “offering of incense” denoting worship from spiritual Good, and “vanity ” [or an idol] evil and the false of evil. A. E. 340.
He that sacrificeth a lamb, beheadeth a dog; he that maketh an oblation, [offereth] swine’« blood.-[It does not appear that Swedenborg has expounded, or even quoted these two clauses of the verse, but the following, we submit, is, from correspondence, the spiritual instruction they involve. To “sacrifice a lamb,” is to worship from pretended innocence in the external form; but instead thereof to “behead (or to decollate) a dog,” is to worship from selfish and sensual cupidities, denoted by a “dog.” (See Chap. lvi. 10, Exposition.) All those who, in the external form, worship under the semblance of innocence and piety, and yet, in the internal, cherish the filthy cupidities of whoredom, fraud, malice, &c., are guilty of this abominable profanity. To “make an oblation,” is to worship in the external form under the pretence of love to the Lord and to the neighbour, or from celestial Good, signified by an “oblation” or a “meat-offering;” (A. C. 458.) but instead thereof to “offer swine’s blood,” is to cherish In the heart the cupidities of avarice, (see Chap. lxv. 4, Exp.) and the false principles, signified by the “blood,” which are connected with these cupidities. The inside must first be cleansed of these cupidities and evils, before a pure and an acceptable worship can be offered to the Lord, who says-“Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and the platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” Matt. xxiii. 26.]
He that offereth incense, blesseth an idol.-To “offer incense” is to worship from spiritual Good, (A. E. 491.) which is love to the neighbour, or charity; [but by doing this in the external form, and, at the same time to “bless an idol,” is to cherish what is evil and false in the internal, or in the heart. All who go to church to worship God, and, at the same time, do not in their daily life act justly with their neighbour, but cherish fraud, ill-will, malice, or some. other evil in their hearts, instead of worshipping God, “bless an idol, or what is vain.] As to the true nature of worship, signified by “incense,” “sacrifices,” &c., see Chap. xliii. 23; also Chap. i. 11-19, Exposition.
In their abominations their soul dellghteth.-“Abominations” signify infernal evils; also profanations of the holy things of the church; and especially the evils of murder, hatred, adultery, whoredom, theft, fraud, falsehood, and lies, &c., forbidden in the second table of the Decalogue. A.E. 728, 821. See also A.E. 827.

4 I will also choose their devices, and the things they dread I will bring upon them; because I called, and no one answered; I spake, and they did not hear: and they did evil in Mine eyes, and that in which I delighted not they have chosen.

Verse 4. Evil brings upon itself its own punishment, which, at the period of Judgment, breaks out and overwhelms the wicked. The punishment of evil was represented by this law of retaliation:-“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, burning for burning,” &c. (Exod. xxi. 24, 25.) The punishment of retaliation comes from this law of order in heaven:-” All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, even so do ye to them; this is the Law and the Prophets;” (Matt, vii. 12.) wherefore they who do good from good, or from the heart, receive good from others; and, on the other hand, likewise, they who do evil from evil, or from the heart, receive evil from others. Hence it is that every good has its own recompense adjoined to it, and every evil its own punishment. A. C. 8214
Because I called, and no one answered; I spoke, and they did not hear, &c.-That to “call” and to “answer” denotes reciprocation, reception, and conjunction; but that to “call” and “not to answer” signifies non-reciprocation, non-reception, and non-conjunction, see Chap. xxxvi. 21, Exposition.

5 Hear ye the word of Jehovah, ye that tremble at His Word! Your brethren that have bated you, and that have cast you out for My name’s sake, have said, Let Jehovah be glorified! and we shall see your joy; but they shall be ashamed.

Verse 5. It does not appear that Swedenborg has quoted this verse, but from the internal sense in the margin, it would seem that the “brethren” here intended are those who, although out of tho church, are nevertheless in charity, and of whom a church can consequently be formed. The reason why it is said that “they have hated and cast them out (the people of the Jewish church) for the Lord’s name’s sake,” is, we apprehend, because the Gentiles had a great aversion to the Jews, as a people, on account of their arrogance and cruelties, as described by Swedenborg in the Exposition of verse 20. These ” brethren” will say-“Let Jehovah be glorified! that we may see the joy of those who thus desire to see Jehovah glorified;” or, that the Lord should be acknowledged and worshipped; whilst the wicked, or “they who plot devices” (ver. 4), and thus do evil, shall be “ashamed and rejected.”]
That to be “ashamed” signifies to be averse to what is Good, and consequently to be in evil, see Chap. xxiv. 2n, Exposition.

6 A voice of tumult from the city! a voice from the temple! the voice of Jehovah! rendering recompense to His enemies,

Verse 6. By the “city” is understood the doctrine of Truth; by “temple” the church, and by “the voice of Jehovah from the temple” Divine Truth itself. A. E. 220.

7 Before she was in travail, she brought forth; before her pangs came upon her, she was delivered of a male.

Verses 7-11. These words treat of the advent of the Lord, and of the establishment of the church with the Gentiles. Their reformation and regeneration is described by “travailing,” “bringing forth,” and by being” delivered of a male,” and by “coming to the birth,” and by “generating;” for, as was said above, the man who is born anew, is, in like manner, as it were, conceived, carried in the womb, born, educated, and grows to adolescence, as from a father and mother, By “Zion” and “Jerusalem” are here understood the church and its doctrine; and by “sucking,” and by being “satisfied from the breast of her consolations,” is signified to be fully instructed in Truths originating in Good from tho delight of love, according to desire. By the “one day,” in which these things shall take place, is signified the advent of the Lord. A. E. 721. See also A. C. 264.

Verse 7. She was delivered of a male.-By a “son,” in the Word, is signified the Truth of doctrine, also the understanding, and hence the thought of what is True and Good; but by a “daughter” is meant the Good of doctrine, and also the will, and hence the affection of what is True and Good; and by “a son a male” is signified Truth conceived in the spiritual man, and born in the natural. The reason is, because by “generations” and “nativities,” in the Word, are signified spiritual generations and nativities, all which, in general, relate to what is Good and True; for nothing else is generated and born of the Lord as “Husband,” and of the church as a “wife.” A. R. 543.

8 Who hath heard a thing like this? Who hath seen things like these? Does the earth bring forth in one day’? Is a nation born at once? for as soon as Zion was in travail, she brought forth her sons.
9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith Jehovah: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut up [the womb]? saith thy God.

Verse 8. Where the reason of its being said-“Does the earth bring forth in one day? Is a nation born at once?” is, because the “earth” signifies the church. By ” bringing forth” and by “birth,” and also by ” generating” and “generation,” in the Word, are signified spiritual births and generations, which are of Faith und of Love, thus reformation and regeneration. What the “new heavens” and “new earth ” signify, has been already explained. A. E. 304. See also T. C. R. 583.

10 Rejoice with Jerusalem, and exult in her, all ye that love her: be exceedingly joyful with her, all ye that mourn over her:
11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied from the breast of her consolations; that ye may draw forth [nourishment], and be delighted from the brightness of her glory.
12 For thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will spread over her peace like a river; and like a flowing stream the glory of the nations: and ye shall suck; ye shall be carried at the side; and on the knees shall ye be caressed.

13 As a man whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and in Jerusalem shall ye have comfort.

Verses 10-12. Here also by “Jerusalem” is understood the church as to doctrine, or, what is the same thing, the doctrine of the church; concerning the latter it is said- “Rejoice with Jerusalem and exult in her, all ye that love her;” and concerning doctrine it is also said-“That ye may suck, and be satisfied from the breast of her consolations; that ye may draw forth [nourishment] from the brightness of her glory;” by the “breast of consolations” is signified the Divine Good, and by the “brightness or splendour of glory” the Divine Truth from which doctrine is derived. That there shall be an abundance of all those things by virtue of conjunction with the Lord, is signified by “Behold, I will spread over her peace like a river; and like a flowing stream, the glory of the nations; and ye shall suck;” –“peace” signifying conjunction with the Lord, and the” glory of the nations “the conjunction of Good and Truth thence derived; to “suck” denotes influx from the Lord; and a “river” and a “flowing stream “denote abundance. That hence exist spiritual love and celestial love, by which conjunction with the Lord is effected, is signified by “Ye shall be carried at the side, and on the knees shall ye be caressed;”-the “side” signifying spiritual love, and the “knees” celestial love; and to be “taken up and be caressed,” is eternal felicity by virtue of conjunction. That the “breasts” signify spiritual love and also the “side” or ” breast,” may be seen above, n. 65; that the” knees” denote conjugial love, and hence celestial love, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 3021, 5060-5062; that “glory” signifles Divine Truth, and intelligence and wisdom thence derived, may be seen above, n. 34, 288; and that “nations” signify those who are in the Good of love, and, abstractedly from persons, the Goods of love, may also be seen above, n. 175, 331. Hence “the glory of the nations” is genuine Truth, originating in the Good of love, and consequently their conjunction. A.E. 305. See also Chap. lx. 15, 16, Exposition.

14 And ye shall see it, and your heart shall rejoice; and your bones shall bud forth like the herb: and the hand of Jehovah shall be made known to His servants; but He will be indignant against His enemies.

Verse 14. And your bones shall bud forth like the herb, &c.-As to the meaning of “flesh” and “bones,” both in a good and in a bad sense, see Chap. lviii. 11, Exposition.

15 For, behold, Jehovah shall come in fire; and like a whirlwind are His chariots: to recompense in the wrath of His anger; and His rebuke in flames of fire.

Verse 15. Like a whirlwind are His chariots, &c.-For what is said respecting “whirlwinds” and “storms,” &c., at the time of Judgment in the world of spirits, see Chap. xvii. 13, Exposition.

16 For by fire shall Jehovah contend, and by His sword, with all flesh: and many shall be the slain of Jehovah.

Verse 16. By a “sword,” in this passage, is signified Truth combating and destroying; this destruction appears especially in the spiritual world, where they who are in falses cannot sustain the Truth, but are in a state of anguish, as if they struggled with death, when they come into the sphere of light, that is, into the sphere of Divine Truth; and thus also they are deprived of Truths, and devastated. As most expressions in the Word have also an opposite sense, so likewise has the “sword,” and in that sense it signifies the false combating against Truth, and destroying it. A. E. 131.

17 They who sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one [tree] in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abominable thing, and the mouse; together shall they be consumed, saith Jehovah.

Verse 17. That to “sanctify themselves in gardens,” is to worship from intelligence self-derived, and thus from false doctrines, see just above, Chap lxv. 3, 4, Exposition. “Behind one [tree] in the midst;” this “one in the midst.” (whether it be a tree or an idol), implies the governing principle which rules in this perverted state of self-intelligence and of impure worship. This “one thing in the midst ” has its origin either in the love of self,-and is, therefore, either the love of dominion and power and preeminence,–or in the love of the world; and is, consequently, the love of opulence, and the pride and conceit of one’s own intelligence. It is said to be “in the midst,” because whatsoever is in the centre, universally governs, as one king in his kingdom. What the “eating of swine’s flesh and of the abominable thing” signifies, may be seen above, Chap. lxv, 4, Exposition. As to the “mouse,” which was unclean, (Lev. xi. 29.) and which signifies the cupidities of the sordidly avaricious, see A. C. 938, 1514. To cherish these cupidities is, in the language of correspondences, signified by ” eating mice,”, which was forbidden as an abomination in the Lord’s sight.]

18 For I [know] their works and their thoughts: and [the time] shall come to gather all nations and tongues together; and they shall come, and shall see My glory.

Verses 18, 19. These words are said concerning the Lord, and concerning the New Church to be established by Him, consequently concerning the “new heavens” and the “new earth,” as is evident from verse 22 of this chapter. By “gathering together all nations and tongues,” is signified the same as by “gathering together the elect from the four winds;” (Matt. xxiv. 31.) to “gather together” signifies to call to Himself those who are His; “nations” denote those who are in Good, and “tongues” those who are in life according to doctrine; to “come” and to “see the glory of the Lord,” is to be illustrated in Divine Truth, and to be thence in the fruition of heavenly joy; for the “glory of the Lord” signifies the Divine Truth, and illustration and joy therefrom. To “set a sign upon them,” signifies to distinguish and separate them from the evil, and to conoin them to the good. A. E. 427. See also A. R. 347.

19 And I will set a sign upon them, and those that escape I will send to the nations; to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow; to Tubal, and Javan, and the islands afar off; to those who have not heard My fame, and who have not seen My glory: and they shall declare My glory among the nations.

Verse 19. “Those that escape ” signify remains or remnants. (See above, Chap, i. 9, Exposition.) “Tarshish” signifies those who are in external worship [but from somewhat of an internal principle]; “Pul and Lud, drawing the bow,” signify those who are in the knowledges of Truth, namely, from the Lord, by charity, and thus by faith, by means of reason and science, as in Ezekiel:-“They of Persia, of Lud, and of Phut, were in thine army, thy men of war; they banged their shield and their helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness;” (xxvii. 10.) where the subject treated of is concerning Tyre. “Lud” and “Phut” denote knowledges, which are said to be “in an army,” and are called “men of war,” because they serve to defend Truths, and are a support to reason, which is also understood by “hanging up the shield and the helmet.” That by “Phut'” are signified the exterior knowledges of the Word, may be seen above, n. 1166. By” drawing the bow,” as said of those who are meant by “Tubal” and “Javan,” is signified to teach doctrine. A. C. 1231.
[By these words are therefore implied that the “remains,” or those who escape at the period of Judgment, will be sent to those who can instruct them in Truths from the Word, and initiate them into the externals of a true worship.]

20 And they shall bring all your brethren, from all the nations, an offering to Jehovah; upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters; upon mules, and upon dromedaries; to the mountain of My holiness, to Jerusalem, saith Jehovah: like as the sons of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of Jehovah.

Verse 20. This passage treats concerning the establishment of the New Church by the Lord; wherefore it is not understood that “they shall bring their brethren upon horses, and in chariots, and in liners, upon mules, and upon dromedaries, into Jerualem,” but that all who are in Good are to be instructed in divine Truths, and being thereby made intelligent and wise, are to be introduced into the church; for by “brethren” are signified all who are in Good; by “horses” is denoted the understanding of Truth, by “chariots” the doctrine of Truth, by “litters the knowledges of Truth, by “mules” the internal rational [principle], which is spiritual, and by “dromedaries” [or swift beasts] the external rational [principle], which is natural; by Jerusalem is signified the church, where is the doctrine of Truth which is called “the mountain of holiness” from the love of Truth. A.E. 355.
By “horses,” “chariots,” “litters,” “mules,” and “dromedaries” in the spiritual sense , are understood things appertaining to doctrine, and thence to the church; for the subject here treated of is concerning the New Church to be established by the Lord. By “horses” are signified intellectual things, by “chariots” doctrine,” by “litters” doctrinals of Good, by “mules” rational things, and by “dromedaries” likewise things rational as to Good. By the “brethren,” whom they shall bring, are signified all who are in the Good of charity; and by “Jerusalem, the mountain of holiness,” is signified the church in which charity reigns. A. E. 1155. See also A. E. 175.
They shall bring all you brethren from all the nations, &c.-They ‘who know nothing concerning the internal sense of the Word, cannot believe otherwise than that the Israelitish and Jewish nation was elected above every other nation; and hence was more excellent than every other, as also they themselves believed; and what is wonderful this is not only believed by that nation itself, but also by Christians, notwithstanding these latter know that that nation is in filthy loves, in sordid avarice, in hatred, and in self-conceit, and besides that they make light of, and even hold in aversion, the internal things which are of chanty and faith, and which are of the Lord. The reason why Christians also believe that that nation was elected above others, is because they believe that the election and salvation of man is from mercy, without regard to man’s life, and thus that the wicked can be received into heaven alike with the pious and the well-disposed, not considering that election is universal, viz., of all who live in Good, and that the mercy of the Lord is towards every man who abstains from evil, and is willing to live in Good, and thus who suffers himself to be led of the Lord, and to be regenerated, which is effected through the continuation of his life. Hence also it is that the generality in the Christian world believe also that that nation will be again elected, and, in such case, will be brought back into the land of Canaan, and this also according to the sense of the letter, as in these following passages. In Isaiah, chap. x. 20-22; xi. 11, 12; xxix. 22, to the end; xliii. 5, 6; xlix. 6-26; lvi. 8; lx. 4; lxi. 3-10; lxii. 1, to the end; and in Jeremiah, chap. iii. 14-19; xv. 4, 14; xvi. 13, 15; xxiii. 7, 8; xxiv. 6, 7; xxix. 14, 18; xxx. 3, 8-11; xxxi. 8-10, 17; xxxiii. 16, 20-26; and in Ezekiel, chap. xvi. 60; xx. 41; xxii. 15, 16; xxxiv, 12, 13; xxxvii. 21, 22; xxxviii. 12; xxxix. 23, 27, 28; and in Daniel, chap. vii. 27; xii. 7; and in Hosea, chap. iii. 4, 6; and in Joel, chap. ii. 32; iii. 1, to the end; and in Amos, chap. ix. 8,9, and following verses; and in Micah, chap. v. 7, 8. Frou: these and also from other passages even Christians believe that that nation will be again elected, and introduced into the land of Canaan, although they know that that nation expects a Messiah who will introduce, and yet are aware that that expectation is vain, and that “the kingdom of the Messiah or of Christ is not of this world,” and thus that “the land of Canaan,” into which the Messiah shall introduce, is heaven; neither do they consider that in the Word there is a spiritual sense, and that in that sense by “Israel” is not meant Israel, nor by “Jacob” Jacob, nor by “Judah'” Judah, but that by those persons are understood the things which they represent; neither do they consider what is related in the history concerning that nation, of what quality they were in the wilderness, and of what quality they were afterwards in the land of Canaan, that in heart they were idolators; also what the prophets relate concerning that nation, and its spiritual whoredom and abominations. What that quality is, is described in the song by Moses, in these words:-“I will hide My faces from them; I will see what their posterity will be: for they are a generation of perversions, sons in whom is no faithfulness. I said, I will cast them out into the furthest corners; I will cause their memory to cease from man; unless the enemy said, Our hand is high, neither hath Jehovah done all this. For they are a nation ruined by counsels, neither is there understanding in them. Their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall; they have clusters of bitternesses. Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel gall of asps. All that is hidden with Me, sealed up in My treasures. Vengeance and retribution are Mine; for a time their foot shall stagger; for the day of their destruction is near, and the things which shall befall them hasten.” (Deut. xxxii. 20, 26, 27, 28, 33, 34, 35.) That Jehovah dictated that song to Moses, see Deut. xxxi. 19, 21. Concerning that nation the Lord also says in John:-“Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth.” (viii. 44.) Besides in many other passages. The reason why Christians, although they know these things, still believe that that nation will at length be converted to the Lord, and in such case will be introduced into the land where they have heretofore dwelt, is, because, as was said, they do not know the internal sense of the Word; and because they suppose that the life of man is of no concern, and that evil, even enrooted by repeated acts, is no hindrance at all to man becoming spiritual, and being regenerated, and thus accepted of the Lord, by faith, though it be the faith only of one short hour; also that intromission into heaven is of mercy alone, and that this mercy operates towards a single nation, and not so towards all in the universe who receive the mercy of the Lord. They who entertain such sentiments are not aware that it is altogether contrary to the Divine [Being] that some, as the elect, should be born to salvation and heaven, and some, as the non-elect, to damnation and hell. To think thus concerning the Divine [Being] would be horrible, because it would be the highest unmercifulness, when yet the Divine [Being] is Mercy itself. From these considerations it may now be manifest that the Israelitish and Jewish nation was not elected, and still less that they will be elected; also that there did not anything of the church appertain to them, neither could it appertain, but only what was representative of a church; and that the reason why they have been preserved even to this day, was for the sake of the Word of the Old Testament; see n. 3479. A. C. 7051.
The residue of the worship of the Jewish people will have an end with the end or consummation of the present church in Europe, as the Lord predicts in Matt. xxiv. 34, and in Mark xiii. 30; for in those chapters “the consummation of the age,” which is the end of the church, is treated of, as is shewn at the beginnings of chapters xxvi. to xl. of Genesis. A.C.10,497.
As the sons of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel, &c.-As to the meaning of “vessels,” see Chap. lii. 11. Exposition. “An offering in a clean vessel” is representative of sincere and holy worship: See Chap. x viii. 7, Exposition.
[From these extracts it appears to be a great mistake on the part of those literal interpreters of Scripture, who, from the most gross and external apprehension of the Word, imagine that sometime or other the Jews will literally be brought back into Canaan, and be again established as a people; whereas, from a slight spiritual discernment of these prophecies, it might appear that by these prophetical statements is meant that when the Lord would come, all of every nation, and of every denomination, who were in the Good of love to the Lord and of their neighbour, would receive the Truths of the Word, and worship Him alone; and thus be formed into a church, which is signified by being “gathered to the mountain of His holiness, to Jerusalem.” There are so many inconsistencies, absurdities, and impossibilities involved in the literal idea of the return literally of the Jews into the land of Canaan, that it is wonderful that any thinking mind could, for a moment entertain it. How could, for example, the merely literal “David” come and be a prince over them ? (Ezek. xxxvii. 24.) But, when spiritually understood, in relation to the Lord, to His advent, and to the establishment of a church by Him, all things become consistent, and full of light to the mind.
It also appears from thee extracts that the Jews have hitherto been preserved for the sake of the Word, especially of tho Old Testament; for it is certain that had the Jews not been preserved as a distinct people, the Word in Hebrew, which is its inspired language, would ages ago have perished, for, up to the time of the Reformation, they were the sole conservators in its integrity of the Word in Hebrew. From this fact, then, we may conclude that the Word is of immense importance to the human race, as the means of conjunction with the Lord, and of consolation with the angels of Heaven, and consequently of salvation; for since the fall of man, the Word is the only means, by virtue of its divine Truths, to regenerate andl to restore mankind
to salvation and happiness. See H. H. 303-310.]

21 And of them will I also take for priests and for Levites, saith Jehovah.

Verse 21. What “priests” and “ministers” signify, see Chap. lxi. 6. Exposition. “Levites” and the “tribe of Levi” signify the church as to its charity and good works; for every “tribe” has its own particular signification. The reason why the “tribe of Levi” signifies [in a good sense] good works is, because spiritual love, or chanty, consists in performing Goods, which are good works. Essential charity, viewed in itself, is the affection of Truth and Good, and where that affection is, there is a life according to Truths and Goods; for affection, without a life according to the Truths and Goods with which it is affected, has no existence. If such affection be supposed to exist aud to be present, it is a natural affection, and not a spiritual oue, which two affections differ in this, that natural affection has for its end self and the world, therefore the Truths and Goods with which a person is then affected he loves for the sake of his own fame, and to obtain honour and gain; in which case the life according to doctrinals is only assumed from self for the sake of appearance, and so it is pretended and inwardly hypocritical; but spiritual affection has for its end the Lord, heaven, and life eternal, which it regards in the Truths and Goods, thus it loves Truths and Goods spiritually; and when this affection has place with man, he then loves to think those things and to will them, consequently to live according to them. To live according to Goods and Truths is understood in the Word by “doing,” and the life itself by the “deeds” and “works” which are so often mentioned In the Word. These, therefore, are what were represented and signified by “Levi” and his “tribe” in the church with the Jews. Inasmuch as this affection is the very essential principle of the church, therefore the “tribe of Levi” was made the priesthood; and therefore “the staff of Levi ill the tent of the assembly, blossomed with almonds;” and therefore to that “tribe” was given an inheritance, not in the same manner as the rest, but amongst each of them. Inasmuch as most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so have “Levi” and his “tribe;” and in this sense “Levi” signifies the evil of tho false which is opposite to the Good of Charity, consequently no charity towards the neighbour. This is signified by “Levi,” in the prophecy of Israel concerning his sons, in Genesis xlix. 5-7; this opposite principle is also understood by the “Levite,” in the Lord’s parable concerning him who was wounded by thieves. (See Luke x. 29-37.) A. E. 444.

22 For like as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall stand before Me, saith Jehovah: so shall stand your seed and your name,

Verse 22. Speaking of the Lord, and of the salvation of the faithful by Him. The New Church from Him is understood by “the new heavens and the new earth,” -by the “new heavens” the internal church, and by the “new earth” the external church. That divine Truth and its quality shall continue, is signified by “so shall stand your seed and your name,”-“seed” denoting divine Truth which also is the Truth of doctrine frorn the Word, and “name” is the quality thereof; that by “name” is signified the quality of a thing and state, may be seen ahove, n. 148. A. E. 768. See also Chap. lxv. 17, 18, Exposition.

23 And it shall be, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to bow down before Me, saith Jehovah.

Verse 23. By ” month” or “moon” is signified man state of life as to Truth. He who thinks that man does Good which is acceptable to the Lord, and which is called spiritual Good, If there are not in him Truths from the Word, is much mistaken. Goods without Truths are not Goods, and Truths without Goods are not Truths in man, although they are Truth in themselves; for Good without Truth is like the voluntary principle of man without understanding,, which voluntary principle is not human, but is like that of a beast, or like that of an image which an artist causes to operate; but the voluntary principle, united with its intellectual principle, becomes human according to the state of the understanding by which it exists; for every man’s state of life is such, that his will cannot do anything but by his understanding, neither can his understanding, think anything but from his will. It is the same with Good and Truth, because Good is of the will, and Truth is of the understanding. From these considerations it is evident that the Good which the Lord produces in man, is according to the state of the Truth in man, from which the understanding is formed. The reason why this is signified by “the Tree of Life yielding its fruit according to every month;” is, because by “month” is signified the state of Truth in man. That by all “times” and “seasons,” as hours, days, weeks, months, years, ages, are signified states of life, may be seen, n. 476, 562. The reason why “months” signify states of life relating to Truth, is, because by “months” are signified times determined by the moon, and by the “moon” is understood the Truth of the understanding and of faith. The like is also signified by “months” in the following passages:–“Blessed of Jehovah is the land of Joseph, with the precious things of the produce of the sun, and with the precious things of the produce of the months,” (Deut. xxxiii, 13, 14.) By reason of the signification of “month” or “moon,” sacrifices were offered at the beginning of every month. or new moon. (Numb. xxix, 6; Isa. i.14.) A.R. 935.

24 And they shall go forth, and shall see the carcases of the men who have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be an abhorrence unto all flesh.

Verse 24. What is signified by a “carcase,” see Chap. xxxiv. 3, Exposition.
By “their worm dying not,” is signified the false principle of evil which is in the good derived from man’s selfhood, which false principle is compared to a “worm,” because their effects are similar; for the false principle corrodes, and thereby torments. There are two things which make hell, as there are two things which make heaven;-the two things which make heaven are Good and Truth, and the two things which make hell are evil and what is false. Consequently those two things in heaven are what make happiness there, and the two things in hell are what make torment there. Torment in hell, derived from the false principle, is compared to a “worm,” and torment from evil is compared to “fire,” as in Isa. lxvi. 24; and in Mark:-“Where their worm dieth not, and their fire shall not be quenched.” (ix. 44, 46, 48.) A. C. 8481.
Their fire shall not be quenched.-All love in the spiritual world, when it is excited, appears at a distance like fire; within the hells like a burning fire; and without, like the smoke of a burning fire, or like the smoke of a furnace. A. E. 422.
Infernal spirits are not in any material fire, but in spiritual fire, which is their love, wherefore they do not feel any other fire; concerning which, see H. H. 566-575.
In respect to “fire,” in a bad sense, as signifying the evil of lusts and cupidities arising from the love of self and of the world, see Chap. ix, 17-19; xxxiii. 11, 12, 14, Exposition.

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