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Daniel 7

Afrikaans 1953     

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1 In die eerste jaar van Bélsasar, die koning van Babel, het Daniël 'n droomgesig gesien en gesigte van sy hoof op sy bed. Toe het hy die droom opgeskrywe, die hoofsaak vertel.

2 Daniël het gespreek en gesê: Ek het in die nag in my gesig gesien, en kyk, die vier winde van die hemel het die groot see in beroering gebring;

3 en vier groot diere het uit die see opgeklim, die een verskillend van die ander.

4 Die eerste was soos 'n leeu, en hy het vlerke van 'n arend gehad; ek het bly kyk totdat sy vlerke uitgeruk is en dit van die grond af opgehef en soos 'n mens op twee voete neergesit is en daaraan 'n mensehart gegee is.

5 En kyk, 'n ander dier, 'n tweede, het gelyk soos 'n beer, en is aan die een kant opgerig; en drie ribbes was in sy bek tussen sy tande; en só het hulle vir hom gesê: Staan op, eet baie vleis.

6 Daarna het ek gesien, en kyk, daar was 'n ander een soos 'n luiperd, en dit het vier vlerke van 'n voël op sy rug gehad; ook het die dier vier koppe gehad, en aan hom is heerskappy gegee.

7 Daarna het ek in die naggesigte gesien, en kyk, daar was 'n vierde dier, vreeslik en skrikwekkend en baie sterk, en dit het groot ystertande gehad; dit het verslind en vermorsel en die oorskot met sy pote vertrap; en dit was verskillend van al die diere wat voor hom gewees het, en dit het tien horings gehad.

8 Terwyl ek op die horings ag gee, kom daar 'n ander horinkie tussen hulle op, en drie van die vorige horings is daarvoor ontwortel; en kyk, in hierdie horing was soos mens-, en 'n mond wat groot dinge spreek.

9 Ek het bly kyk totdat trone reggesit is en 'n Oue van dae gaan sit het; sy kleed was wit soos sneeu en die hare van sy hoof soos skoon wol; sy troon was vuurvlamme, die wiele daarvan 'n brandende vuur;

10 'n stroom van vuur het gevloei en voor Hom uit gegaan; duisend maal duisende het Hom gedien, en tien duisend maal tien duisende het voor Hom gestaan; die gereg het gaan sit, en die boeke is geopen.

11 Ek het toe bly kyk vanweë die stem van die groot woorde wat die horing gespreek het; ek het bly kyk totdat die dier gedood en sy liggaam vernietig en aan die verbranding deur vuur oorgegee is.

12 Ook aan die ander diere is hulle heerskappy ontneem, en verlenging van die lewe is aan hulle gegee tot op tyd en uur.

13 Ek het gesien in die naggesigte, en kyk, met die wolke van die hemel het Een gekom soos die Seun van 'n mens, en Hy het gekom tot by die Oue van dae, en hulle het Hom nader gebring voor Hom.

14 En aan Hom is gegee heerskappy en eer en koningskap; en al die volke en nasies en tale het Hom vereer; sy heerskappy is 'n ewige heerskappy wat nie sal vergaan nie, en sy koninkryk een wat nie vernietig sal word nie.

15 Die gees van my, Daniël, is in sy omhulsel verontrus, en die gesigte van my hoof het my verskrik.

16 Ek het nader gekom na een van die wat daar gestaan het, en van hom sekerheid gevra oor dit alles; en hy het dit vir my gesê en die uitlegging van die dinge aan my bekend gemaak:

17 Hierdie groot diere wat vier is--vier konings sal uit die aarde opstaan;

18 en die heiliges van die Allerhoogste sal die koningskap ontvang, en hulle sal die koninkryk in besit neem tot in ewigheid, ja, tot in alle ewigheid.

19 Toe wou ek sekerheid verkry oor die vierde dier wat van al die ander verskillend was, buitengewoon vreeslik, met ystertande en met koperkloue, wat verslind, vermorsel en die oorskot met sy pote vertrap het,

20 en oor die tien horings wat op sy kop was, en die ander een wat opgekom het en waarvoor drie geval het, naamlik hierdie horing wat oë en 'n mond gehad het wat groot dinge gespreek het, terwyl sy gestalte groter was as van die ander.

21 Ek het gesien dat hierdie horing oorlog voer met die heiliges en hulle oorwin,

22 totdat die Oue van dae kom en aan die heiliges van die Allerhoogste reg verskaf is en die bepaalde tyd gekom het dat die heiliges die koninkryk in besit geneem het.

23 Só het hy gesê: Die vierde dier--die vierde koninkryk sal op die aarde wees, wat verskil van al die koninkryke en die hele aarde sal verslind en dit sal vertrap en dit verbrysel.

24 En die tien horings--uit daardie koninkryk sal tien konings opstaan, en 'n ander een sal ná hulle opstaan, en hy sal verskillend wees van die voriges en drie konings neerwerp.

25 En hy sal woorde spreek teen die Allerhoogste en die heiliges van die Allerhoogste mishandel; en hy sal probeer om tye en wet te verander, en hulle sal in sy hand oorgegee word gedurende 'n tyd en tye en die helfte van 'n tyd.

26 Maar die gereg sal sit, en hulle sal hom die heerskappy ontneem om dit vir goed te verdelg en te vernietig.

27 Dan word die koningskap en die heerskappy en die grootheid van die koninkryke onder die ganse hemel gegee aan die volk van die heiliges van die Allerhoogste; hulle koninkryk is 'n ewige koninkryk, en al die heerskappye sal hulle vereer en gehoorsaam wees.

28 Hier is die einde van die saak. Wat my, Daniël, betref, my gedagtes het my baie verskrik en my gelaatskleur het verander aan my, maar die saak het ek in my hart bewaar.

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Daniel's First Vision: 4 Beasts and the Little Horn      

Napsal(a) Rev. Dr. Andrew M. T. Dibb

Woodcut

This opening verse of the prophecies of Daniel has a resounding similarity to the opening verses of most of the preceding chapters of the book of Daniel. Like them, it places the vision in a context, we are shown the point of our regeneration at which the Lord is directing us: the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon.

In the internal sense, time is an indication of state. This means that the events and prophecies of Daniel do not follow in a strict chronological order, but rather happen on different levels at the same time. While Nebuchadnezzar is king of Babylon, representing selfishness in our inner self, Belshazzar rules our outer self. The work of overcoming selfish motives has to go hand in hand with the removal of that very selfishness in our external—otherwise the exercise is purely intellectual. Daniel’s visions in the last six chapters of the book, indicate the process by which we become aware of the effects of selfishness in our daily lives: when Belshazzar is king.

In spiritual development, we sometimes delude ourselves that change follows effort without delay. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our habits are very powerful—often we are not even aware that we have them. Yet "regeneration" literally means "re-birth," which entails casting out each and every obstacle in the path of our spiritual development. This can only be done by examining the exterior motives in our lives, and getting to the very bottom or root of our behaviors.

Daniel’s vision traces this exploration for us. Each of the four beasts he saw rising up from the sea depict the states of an evil life in us, with the added twist in their relationship to the religious principles a person purports to hold. Each must be examined and rejected. Every detail of the vision, therefore is important.

As with all numbers in the Word, the number "four" has a special meaning vitally important to the exposition. "Four" represents a joining together, and so has the same meaning as the number "two," (Arcana Coelestia 1686, 9103, 9601) which is obvious since "four" is the result of two multiplied into itself.

In a general sense, when the term "four winds" is mentioned in the Word, it means "all things of good and of truth, thus all things of heaven and of the church" (Arcana Coelestia 9642:10) flowing into a person, for "wind" means the influx of life from the Lord (Apocalypse Revealed 343). Thus the Lord breathed life into Adam in the Garden of Eden, and again on His disciples, filling them with the Holy Spirit. In an ideal situation, the presence of the Lord, both in our will and our understanding, in equal measure, indicates a state of regeneration. In that state, we are as "four-square" as the New Jerusalem.

As in so many cases in the book of Daniel, the symbolism needs to be reversed in order to see its full meaning. Daniel is in Babylon, a servant to the king, and thus anything usually relating to the Lord is inverted to relate to the king of Babylon, as selfishness: the opposite of love to the Lord.

The influx then is not goodness and truth, but evil and falsity, specifically love of self and control over others. The "sea" in this vision depicts the great restless tide of selfishness controlling our external being. The book of Daniel is a picture of a person whose conscience is restricted to thoughts and feelings, yet whose behavior, attitudes, and habits still reflect the old states of selfishness (Apocalypse Explained 316). Babylon reigns. In the vision that follows, the states and their effects are revealed.

The vision of the four beasts coming up from the sea tells our story when we cynically misuse truth to live selfishly, until evil completely takes over and would destroy us (Apocalypse Explained 556, Apocalypse Revealed 574). Evil will succeed unless the power of the truth, in our conscience, overcomes evil and allows us to reject it.

The first of these beasts was like a lion with eagle’s wings. Lions are mentioned many times in the Word, and usually describe the power of truth to destroy falsity and evil (Apocalypse Explained 556). But in this vision, describing Babylon, the lion takes on the opposite meaning: the lion represents the power of the love of self (Arcana Coelestia 6367), and the power of falsity to destroy truths.

The eagle's wings, representing human reason, were taken away from the lion, and he was made to stand on his two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to him. A person engrossed in selfishness loses their ability to appreciate religion, and weighted down by their own contrary thoughts, find themselves alienated from the truth.

Next, Daniel saw a bear raised up on one side. This posture indicates our eagerness to misinterpret the Word to suit our own means (Arcana Coelestia 781). This a vision of the human state when self love (Nebuchadnezzar) rules our internal being, and the expression of that selfishness (Belshazzar) controls our daily actions. The bear is the pleasure of justifying evil with our own 'superior' reasoning.

It is easy to be kind, while manipulating other people for our own benefit. It is easy to present oneself as a spiritual being in order to deceive other people. In such a life, charity is a dead form. Thus the bear had three ribs hanging from its mouth.

Daniel never tells who commanded the bear to 'arise, and devour more flesh,' but perhaps the urging comes from deeper states of selfishness which control our external actions. Whatever its origin, these words give voice to the heart of a person misusing the Word for his or her own gain.

A leopard is "a ferocious beast" which loves to "kill harmless animals." Its very appearance, black spots on white, illustrates the effect of falsity on truth (Apocalypse Revealed 57). But the leopard in Daniel also had four wings like a bird. As in the case of the lion which had the wings of an eagle, the wings here also signify our intellect destroying the truth. The four wings on the leopard depict "confirmations of what is false" (Apocalypse Revealed 574).

The leopard not only had four wings, but also four heads. This is a depiction of human degradation when falsity rules. It is a state of spiritual insanity, for when a selfish internal acts with a falsified external, there is nothing to prevent a person engaging in all kinds evil (Arcana Coelestia 1944:3). In this state, the conscience is enslaved, powerless to stop the madness.

The fourth beast, whose appearance is not described, signifies the "destruction of truth and good" (Apocalypse Revealed 574). Once a person reaches this state of degeneration, they stop at nothing to destroy any restraining influences. Falsity is used to destroy truth through denial or twisting it to suit one’s own ends. This process is described as "teeth like iron" devouring and breaking in pieces (see 1 explanation of Daniel 2 for a description of 'iron')(Apocalypse Revealed 556).

'A horn' is usually a symbol of power, and in the highest sense, the power of truth against falsity. But again, in this story the opposite sense applies, and the power here is of falsity for evil (Apocalypse Explained 316). These ten horns depict the complete power falsity has over the way we act.

The whole sordid description of the four beasts culminates on a little horn. This is the complete perversion of anything good and true drawn from the Word, and so represents the final profanation. If there was no counter-balancing conscience, a person would be irrevocably in hell.

The casting out of the three horns depicts the power of evil and falsity to destroy and remove the truths of the Word (Apocalypse Explained 316). The number "three" represents fullness or completeness, and thus the power of evil when brought into action to destroy all truths. Hence, the old saying 'when you break one of the Commandments, you break them all,' takes on a more powerful meaning.

The next image shifts: we see the thrones "cast down" signifying the falsities (Arcana Coelestia 8215) from the beasts, judged by the truths of the Word forming our conscience. All judgment begins with truth, for truth provides the balances upon which our lives are measured.

In the image of God’s throne, symbolizing judgment, it is important to remember that His judgment is always a product of love and mercy. But the Lord’s love should not be confused with license: just because He loves the human race, individually and collectively, this does not mean evil is permissible. Evil interferes with a person’s reception of the Lord, putting barriers between Him and ourselves. For the most part, the Lord permits evils, but does not will them, because they are useful reminding us to turn away from them (Divine Providence 275, 278). Yet there are times when human beings overstep the mark.

The judgment in this chapter must be seen in its context, which is in the reign of Belshazzar. It is the story of both the beasts and the fact that Belshazzar was weighed in the balances, found wanting, and killed by Darius. That in essence is a judgment on the external’s of our lives, on our behavior. and attitudes which have their origin in the Nebuchadnezzar states of our inner being.

Here, however, we see the origin of truth as "the Ancient of Days," sitting on the throne of judgment, heralding the destruction of one state and the beginning of another (Apocalypse Revealed 574). The "Ancient of Days" is an image of the love of the Lord (Arcana Coelestia 9470), and in a sense is the Divine counterpart to the love we are led to by means of truth. The object of all truth is to lead one to a love of God, and a love of the neighbor, and a life expressive of both. Our love for God is a reflection of His love for us.

In the Word, a garment corresponds to truth one knows and which forms a part of a person’s mind. Thus the garment of the Ancient of Days represents the truth veiling over the Divine Good. This truth is truth in our minds, in our conscious minds (Arcana Coelestia 9470, Apocalypse Explained 67). These garments were as white as snow to show us the quality of the intelligence and wisdom we can have from the Lord (Apocalypse Explained 195:18).

'Hair' means the most external parts of our lives—the natural thoughts and feelings we have which prompt us into action, all perfectly conscious. While we are in this world, this very external part of us seems to be vitally important, but in fact it is only driven by the inner things. If these are from the Lord, then our external will also appear as virgin wool.

The fire of the throne is the appearance of the Lord's love. The wheels represents the wisdom and intelligence we have from the Lord, which are full of love and so are described as "burning."

All judgment is done by the Lord. The Lord’s birth in Bethlehem was the beginning of a last judgment on the ancient churches, and that judgment from love by means of wisdom, came about through the life and death of Jesus Christ, the Divine Human of the Lord.

In Daniel’s vision, there is a similar relationship between the Ancient of Days, seated on His throne, and the Son of Man to whom was given all power. The Ancient of Days represents the Lord, and in that vision we saw the unity of the Divine love and Divine wisdom in the fiery throne upon which He sat.

Once the presence of the Lord has been established in us by the overthrow of evil and falsity, we will continue to develop in goodness and truth. This spiritual growth is described in the words that 'the Son of Man was given an everlasting dominion,' a theme repeated in verses 18 and 27. The kingdom of the Son of Man extended over "all peoples, nations and tongues," representing the different states of the human mind which will be made subject to truth from the Word. "Peoples" are the truths of doctrine—in this case, the false ideas which affect our behavior to be judged against the truth introduced into our minds by the conscience. "Nations" mean the evils of life, overthrown in the process of judgment (Apocalypse Revealed 483, Apocalypse Explained 175, 455). Thus in the process of judgment, both our habitual thoughts and feelings will be confronted by truth, and replaced by feelings drawn from the goodness and truth of the Lord. Finally, "tongues" signify the actions drawn from evil feelings and false thoughts—these too will be brought down in our personal "last judgment."

The "time, times, and half a time" are the states of temptation and combat we need to go through in order to regenerate. Yet each minute of that combat is a temptation, and temptation only takes place within the framework or regeneration. Thus a person being tempted, who resists the evil, sits in judgment on that evil, and from the power of the Lord will eventually prevail over it.

These final verses are a vision of things yet to come. This is before our entrance into the Lord’s kingdom, before the power of falsity is broken. We still have growing to do. There are still states we need to face and overcome. Even with this marvelous promise of ultimate victory, Daniel found that his thoughts still troubled him.

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Footnotes:

http://newchristianbiblestudy.org/bible/story/daniel-interprets-nebuchadnezzars-dream/king-james-version

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Swedenborg

Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 1326, 10455

Apocalypse Revealed 748

De Verbo (The Word) 5

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 178

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 37


Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 49, 934, 1066, 1607, 1990, 2547, 2832, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 24, 36, 47, 49, 101, 166, 229, ...

Conjugial Love 26, 81, 193

Divine Providence 134

The Lord 4, 6, 10, 26, 42, 48, 52

Sacred Scripture 49, 86

Life 61

Heaven and Hell 171

True Christian Religion 1, 113, 157, 223, 251, 262, 288, ...


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 36, 63, 67, 70, 175, 195, 199, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 41

Canons of the New Church 37

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 3

De Verbo (The Word) 10, 15, 25

An Invitation to the New Church 10

Marriage 0, 1, 113

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Vysvětlení slova/fráze

gesien
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

gesê
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

kant
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

drie
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...


The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

sit
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

wit
'White' relates to truths, because it originates in the light of the sun.

wiele
'Wheels,' as in Exodus 14:25, signify the power of proceeding and divine intelligence. 'Wheels,' as in Isaiah 5:28, signify the doctrine of natural truth. 'Wheels,'...

geopen
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

ewige
It is hard for us to conceive this, but time does not exist in spiritual reality. Time is an aspect of physical reality that no...

opstaan
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

spreek
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

wet
All laws, even civil and judicial laws, which are in the Word, correspond to the laws of good and truth, which are in heaven.

onder
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

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White      

Napsal(a) New Christian Bible Study Staff

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'White' relates to truths, because it originates in the light of the sun.

(Odkazy: Apocalypse Revealed 167)

Bible

 

Daniel 2:44

Afrikaans 1953     

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44 Maar in die dae van dié konings sal die God van die hemel 'n koninkryk verwek wat in ewigheid nie vernietig sal word nie, en die heerskappy daarvan sal aan geen ander volk oorgelaat word nie; dit sal al daardie koninkryke verbrysel en daar 'n einde aan maak, maar self sal dit vir ewig bestaan--

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Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar's Dream      

Napsal(a) Rev. Dr. Andrew M. T. Dibb

In the second chapter of the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon has a dream that troubles him. Daniel, inspired by God, is the only person who is able to interpret it. It's a powerful story in the literal sense, and its spiritual sense goes deep; it describes a step that we each need to take if we want to make spiritual progress.

The literal text sets the story in the "second year", which refers to a state of conflict that comes before regeneration. Generally, "two" means a union, and specifically the marriage of good and truth. But in this story, the marriage is between evil and falsity. Nebuchadnezzar is still on the throne of Babylon: the falsities from selfish love seek to establish dominion over every sphere of life.

So, in the second year, "Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him." Dreams are one of the ways the Lord revealed the Word to the ancients. It is not surprising to find Nebuchadnezzar greatly disturbed by a dream, to the point that "his sleep left him." Sleep, when dreams occur, depicts a state of obscurity. In Nebuchadnezzar's case, the obscurity arose because he represents false thoughts resulting from a selfish lust for power. Selfishness obscures the truth because it makes it impossible to focus outside of the self.

Nebuchadnezzar represents falsity from selfishness and the desire to dominate and control others. When this is in charge, people become manipulative, insisting that everything serve their own ends. They are willing to twist any truth, even destroy it, to justify their actions. The danger in this state is its attraction; it can invade the mind and establish an empire.

This is our state before regeneration. However, Divine Providence mandates that in order to remove this, we must become conscious of our Nebuchadnezzar states. This may be difficult because reflection requires perspective, which starts out obscured — asleep. Nebuchadnezzar, unable to remember or interpret his dream, commanded his magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and Chaldeans to ease his mind.

When the wise men were unable, the king began killing them. In the internal sense, "to kill," means to turn truths into falsities. Daniel and his companions were to be included in the slaughter, but they were different from the other wise men, who represented falsity based on abuse or misuse of truth grounded in selfishness. Daniel and his friends served the Lord.

Daniel's name had been changed to 'Belteshazzar,' symbolizing the perversion of truth by love of self. Yet in this verse, they sought 'Daniel' and his companions to kill them. This shows a human quality hidden from daily life. If Nebuchadnezzar represents blind selfishness, to save us, the Lord must keep truth hidden from the flow of selfish thought. When his hidden name is used, Daniel represents this hidden thought, protected and ready for use against selfishness.

In chapter one, Daniel rejects Nebuchadnezzar by refusing to eat his food. Once again, he stands against the king who reveals his evil in his willingness to kill when displeased. Nebuchadnezzar is the epitome of self-worship, Daniel is the true worshiper of the Lord.

Daniel and his friends sought "mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret." Despite their position as 'wise men,' they humbled themselves to the Lord. This is a picture of the submission necessary for conscience to direct the unruly external self.

Daniel was given insight into the fallen human, the decline caused by selfishness. People faced with these insights often run and hide. Yet without self-knowledge, people cannot make any spiritual progress. By blessing the Lord, Daniel recognizes that only His divine power can help people put evils into order. Without this, spiritual life is over.

This gratitude embodies a New Church principle: all goodness and truth are from the Lord alone. Any insight people have into the nature of evils must come from the Him. Evil is blind to itself, but truth shows it for what it is. By thanking the Lord for insight, people can face their evils.

Before he can be killed, Daniel requests an audience with the king. Outward behaviors can be aligned with good or evil, and so Arioch, captain of the guard, acts on Daniel's request in spite of Nebuchadnezzar's orders. His words to the king show how useful things can ally themselves to the truth. So Arioch advocates for Daniel.

In his entreaty, Arioch emphasizes Daniel's heritage: "a man of the captives of Judah." This may have cast the king's mind back to his campaign in Judah, or even to the young man prepared for his service, filled with wisdom and glowing with physical health. In the internal sense, 'Judah' represents the church with a person, initially through truths. So Arioch identifies Daniel as truth from the Word. Nebuchadnezzar knew Daniel by his Babylonian name of Belteshazzar: when people in falsity are presented with truth, they view it as mere information for their own use. This is why an adulterer sees no difference between adultery and marriage, or a liar no distinction between truth and falsity.

Daniel is the conscience, which can be thought of as guilt or sorrow for actions. But at it's core, conscience is guidance by the truths of the Word. For truths to guide us, we must recognize their Divine authority and origin: none of the wise men, astrologers, magicians, or soothsayers could tell and interpret the king's dream.

In the sense of the letter, Daniel could begin because he established that the dream was from God, and thus interpreted by God. Daniel was simply a mouthpiece. For us, the self-awareness needed to move us from selfishness to charity comes from the Lord. Only He can direct our lives, but leaves us in freedom to accept that direction or not.

Daniel described Nebuchadnezzar's dream: the great image, with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet partly of iron and partly of clay. Even in the literal sense of the story one sees the steady decline from precious to base to valueless.

Many scholars describe this dream in political terms. They claim it describes successive nations or rulers in the earth, from the Babylonians, to the Greeks, the Romans, and so on. However, the Word deals with spiritual, not worldly things. In one sense, this dream speaks of the different spiritual eras that have existed in this world. This is called the "internal historical" sense. On this level, Nebuchadnezzar's dream describes the rise and fall of the ancient churches to the present. This exposition focuses on a deeper level: the regenerative series, or how the Word tells of each individual's spiritual life.

Nebuchadnezzar's dream symbolizes allowing selfishness to dictate our thoughts and beliefs. Babylon is a state of great selfishness, the opposite of loving the Lord. This is the origin of all evils, going hand in hand with falsity, which twists and perverts the truth, making it a slave to our desires. The dream describes how this state gains mastery of the human mind. It begins before selfishness gains a toehold in our thoughts, and ends in the destruction of our very humanity.

The vision begins with the head because it is the highest part of a human being. But the key to this head is that it is gold, symbolizing love to the Lord. The chest and arms are physically lower than the head, and silver is less valuable than gold. The chest and arms represent the rational parts of the mind. Silver represents truths derived from the goodness within. This change from loving the Lord to thinking from truth marks a change in focus: good embraces all, opening us up to each other in a life of mutual love and charity. Truth, on the other hand, is more open to abuse: ideas of truth have been the cause of many wars and conflicts. Truth is used to hurt as often as to nurture goodness. It is a double edged sword.

At the next level, the decline becomes more obvious: from the head to the chest to the belly and thighs – half way down the body. From gold to silver to bronze, precious metal turns to base. The belly and thighs normally depict the good of loving the Lord and the neighbor, called charity. Here, however, it is twisted into the opposite sense: disregard for others, and one's own interpretation of truth. To the person in this state, these things appear good. So the belly and thighs were made of bronze, an alloy that can be polished until it gleams like gold, but it is not, nor ever can be transmuted.

So we are brought to the lower parts of the body: the legs of iron. In place of truth, falsity takes charge. This is depicted by the iron, which merely looks like silver. The legs are followed by the outer extreme of spiritual life: the feet. The feet are the lowest part of our body. Feet correspond to the outmost of our lives, which should be the expression of the Lord's goodness and truth through us. Instead, the feet of the statue are a weak spot: a mixture of iron and clay. In this image, we see the entire devolution of selfishness – carried into our very action – a life devoid of real goodness or truth, only a false image.

At the climax of the dream, a stone strikes the image and breaks it to pieces. This shows us our true character and the power of truth to bring us back from the brink of disaster. The stone was cut without hands: it is not of human origin. Here the Divine truth contrasts with the king’s practice of consulting his wise men and magicians, who represent selfish human thought. Divine truth leads to all goodness when used the way the Lord intends. Detached from human rationalizing, the truth liberates.

This freedom is the new vision of truth: the stone grows into a mountain. "A mountain" symbolizes love – a new love from truth, that replaces the selfishness and the desire for control. The mountain filling the earth symbolizes the way this new truth and love become the center and focus of our lives. We are created anew by the Lord's truth.

Having described the dream in great detail, Daniel then explains its meaning. He begins with what seems like an affirmation of Nebuchadnezzar; the Lord gave us our love of self! He ordained that we should feel life as our own and have no sense of His life flowing into us. This allows us to act according to our reason, and respond to the Lord in freedom. Selfishness is the abuse of this gift from the Lord, and the kingdom changes its meaning from truth to falsity.

Nebuchadnezzar clearly confuses Daniel with the Lord, and ascribes the power to interpret dreams to him. But the reality of selfishness becomes clear when contrasted with the ideals of conscience. If selfishness cannot reflect upon itself, it needs to be confronted with truth – and truth shows the true nature of evil and convicts it.

Nebuchadnezzar promoted Daniel and his three friends to positions of power. He recognized their God as the God of gods, the Lord of kings. But he continues to recognize the previous gods who served Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar may have elevated the Lord above Marduk, the Babylonian god, but he was neither willing nor prepared to jettison his customary deity.

Spiritual life must begin somewhere, and this interaction between Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel symbolizes the beginning. There is still a great distance to travel before we are truly born again. The old selfish side will reassert itself, new arguments and battles will rage. Yet the promise of Nebuchadnezzar's dream is still with us.

Swedenborg

Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 173


Další odkazy Swedenborga k tomuto verši:

Arcana Coelestia 1326, 2547, 6426, 8581

Apocalypse Revealed 664, 717

Conjugial Love 81

The Lord 42

True Christian Religion 625, 754, 788


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 411, 1029

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 2

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 37

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