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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 8:3

Afrikaans 1953     

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3 En ek het my opgeslaan en gesien, en kyk, daar staan 'n ram voor die rivier; en hy het twee horings gehad, en die twee horings was hoog, ook was die een hoër as die ander, en die hoogste het laaste uitgekom.

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Explanation of Daniel 8      

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

Brown Ram Goat

Daniel, Chapter Eight: The Vision of the Ram and the Goat

A period of time passed after Daniel’s vision of the beasts rising from the sea. He did not record any other visions during that time, and it is not until the third year of Belshazzar’s reign that once again Daniel has a vision. He wrote,

"In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me-- to me, Daniel-- after the one that appeared to me the first time."

The setting of this vision is extremely important - it took place in the third year of Belshazzar’s reign. There is no clear indication in the Word of how long Belshazzar reigned in Babylon 1 , so historically we cannot pin-point this vision at any time in the kings reign other than in the third year.

However, if we turn to the inner meaning of the Word, the time frame becomes very important. As we noted at the very beginning of this exposition, the term “the third year” represents the concept of completeness and the beginning of a new state 2 . The state which is finishing is, of course, the reign of King Belshazzar, who represents the love of control exhibiting itself in the evils of daily or external life.

Chapter Five gives an overview of Belshazzar’s last night in this world, and tells of the profane feast he threw for his thousand lords. In drunken revelry he used the vessels from the temple of Jerusalem to toast his own false gods. At the very height of this debauchery, however, the words of judgment were written on the palace wall - you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting. Almost as soon as Daniel had interpreted these words, Darius and his army broke into the chamber, killing Belshazzar, and presumably everyone else - except Daniel.

Belshazzar’s feast, as we saw in the treatment of the fifth chapter, describes how evil, once it has taken hold of our conscious mind leads us further and further away from the presence of the Lord, and deeper and deeper into profanation.

Daniel’s vision in chapter seven shows graphically how that decline comes about: first we stop thinking about truth, and, as this happens, falsity extends its power over our minds. Eventually we loose all sense of right and wrong, and plunge headlong into a life of evil and falsity. The only force powerful enough to arrest this decline is the power of the Lord’s love, shown as the “Ancient of Days” and the power of judgment described as the “Son of Man”.

These two images of the Lord, and the judgment on our behaviour they imply are of immense importance because they hold open to us the promise of change and redemption. If we were stuck to eternity in the states of selfishness and greed described as the four beasts arising from the sea, then human life would be very bleak indeed. Thus Daniel’s vision in chapter seven gives way to a new one in chapter eight. In many ways the theme is much the same, yet the each new vision moves us closer to freedom from evil.

Chapter eight, therefore, begins in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, marking the end of one state and the beginning of a new - the end of a time of dominion by hell, and a new dawn of spiritual life breaking on us. Dawn, however, is always preceded by the darkest part of the night. We know light will soon break, but it is not yet here, and the anticipation of morning makes the night darker and longer still. Much the same is true of our regeneration. The more we want liberation from evil, the more powerfully the forces of our selfish loves press into our lives. The challenge of life is to continue fighting our evils in the face of their increased aggression towards us.

Apocalypse Explained 716: Falsities from evil cannot be expelled from a person in a moment, but little by little; for if they were expelled in a moment, the person would expire, because they constitute his life.

The greatest challenge we face as our spiritual life progresses is to use the things we know, rather than simply store them up as memories. In the vision in this chapter, we see a person who is making progress. We know from the historical section of the book that Belshazzar will be killed. We know from the Word the Lord’s promises that if we abide in His Word, He will abide in us, and we shall know the truth, and it will set us free 3 . It is, however, one thing to know this, and another all together to bring these things into daily and practical life. This chapter, and the rest of the book, deal with this theme.

The vision takes place while Daniel was at Shushan, the citadel, in the province of Elam, beside the River Ulai. While the doctrines do not explain this verse , it gives us important imagery about the state of selfishness within us in this state before it changes. The power of selfishness and its seeming impregnability are imaged in the picture of Shushan - protected behind the high walls of falsity and the conviction that one is absolutely right in all things.

Shushan is called “the citadel”, a strong place where the kings of Persia had their summer residence 4 . It is possible to imagine it as a strong fortress, designed to keep out the enemies of the king - it is a place where the kings were so confident they could relax in the summer heat. This imagery lends itself to the needs of the vision, especially in relation to the vision in chapter seven.

The only real enemy of selfishness is truth from the Lord, and so often truth can be twisted and bent in so many ways that it is an easy enemy to overcome. People do this all the time through justification of their lives, through denial and countless other ways of defusing the pangs of conscience and guilt. The whole tissue of lies which ensnares a person is like a citadel, defending one from the attack of truth. Thus while a fortress in the Word is usually used to describe a protection against evils and falsities 5 , in this case it is the opposite sense which is more appropriate - evil defending itself against goodness and truth.

It is not surprising, therefore that beside the citadel ran the river Ulai, for rivers in the Word mean wisdom 6 , and wisdom is a state of life when we use truth to guide our lives in this world. In the sense here, however, because this river is part of the Babylonian empire, the correspondence is converted into the opposite.

Arcana Coelestia 7323: Rivers are attributes of intelligence, and so are matters of truth, ad therefore in the contrary sense they are the opposite of intelligence and so are matters of falsity.

Thus Daniel by correspondence saw the last states of evil and selfishness in a person as it is depicted in their external or behavioural aspects. He saw the defensiveness of falsity twisting and perverting truth to its own ends, drawing nourished by the waters of falsity and ignorance.

The side of our lives represented by this vision had a great deal of defending to do - and yet it is ironic that the very force the walls of our spiritual fortress are designed to block out, our conscience, is still with us. Daniel lived within those walls, alongside the king of Babylon. In this irony we see a foreshadowing of the judgment and final killing of Belshazzar.

Spiritual life is a battle fought on more than one plane at a time. The inner motivations, illustrated in the historical stories by Nebuchadnezzar, show how our selfish side is under continued pressure from our conscience to reform and change. The difficulty in change, however, comes in the application of this reform to our external lives. We do so many things from habit, for example, that habit seems to become our real self. Changing this is often like doing violence to our own persona.

In the vision in Chapter Seven, we saw how evil develops, and how it has to be judged. Knowing this, however, is different from the actual work. Too often people fall into the trap of believing that because they know something is wrong, and because they want to break the habit, that they have in fact broken the habit. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In Chapter 8, we have these verses:

3. Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.
4. I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no beast could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great.
5. And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
6. Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power.
7. And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand.

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Aware that he was in the citadel, on the banks of the river, Daniel saw the first part of this vision. A ram with two horns, the last, or rear one the higher than the other. To understand the significance of this ram, one has to look at the context in which Daniel saw it. He was surrounded by Babylon, the love of control over their own and other people’s lives from an inner state of selfishness.

As people regenerate, their lives become increasingly divided between life from the conscience, and life from their selfishness. Thus they act from a mixture of motives. From their conscience they come to express states of goodness, kindness and charity. The actions based on conscience may often be seen as a refusal to commit evil, a biting back of a nasty word, or a act of honesty based on love for someone else. These early stages of regeneration are very important, for they show us what we could be if only our selfishness could be conquered.

Selfishness, however, is also often clothed over with an external goodness - selfish people portray themselves as good in order to make it possible for them to attain their own ends in life. Their external goodness is almost indistinguishable from genuine goodness. Thus the goodness in their behaviour is not connected with any spiritual goodness from the Lord, rather it is affiliated with selfishness itself 7 . Part of the difficulty of bringing our external being to the point where it is willing to submit to the conscience lies in sorting out the source of the good things we do in our lives.

In his vision Daniel saw a ram on the banks of the river. In the Word a “ram” represents states of good done by a person from a religious or spiritual motive. A person in this state is one who is in faith to the Lord and in charity towards the neighbour 8 . In the regenerating person this state of goodness gains momentum and power as the person puts selfishness aside and learns to think in terms of the truth. As this happens, and as the power of selfishness is gradually eroded, so the person increasingly becomes a form of charity itself, and more able to fight against the evils and falsities in their lives.

Apocalypse Explained 600: "'Sheep' mean those who are in the good of charity towards the neighbour thence in faith." Thus the ram, on the banks of the river is an image of the goodness coming into a regenerating person’s life. The horns on its head represent the power of that goodness faith against the influence of evil falsity 9 . Daniel makes specific mention of the relative sizes of the two horns, the higher of the two “came up last”.

In spiritual development there is an interplay between faith and charity. On a conscious level (remember this vision was seen during the reign of Belshazzar), the beginning of our spiritual development lies in our faith. Yet faith by itself does not constitute spiritual life. As we have seen before in the book of Daniel, knowledge about spiritual things, and even an intellectual humility do not bring a person to regeneration - if that were the case, then surely the book would finish at the end of chapter four when Nebuchadnezzar is humbled and praises God. Much of the work of regeneration takes place in changing the external things of our lives which are drawn from a selfish interior, and manifest themselves in our attitudes and behaviour. Thus our knowledge must be converted into action from truth, in other words, changed into charity.

The two horns on the rams head represent this process. In the process of rebirth, our faith is paramount, and our charity secondary. Thus one horn was higher than the other to depict this imbalance. In a regenerated person faith and charity would be equal in a person’s life, for as soon a one learned something, the person would bring it into action. True power against evil comes from charity.

Daniel watched the ram as it moved about, pushing in all four directions of the compass. It is simple to see this as the extension of goodness in a regenerating person into the various parts of life. However, there is more to it than that. The doctrines make an interesting point in relation to directions in the spiritual world, for there quarters are determined by a person’s relationship to the Lord.

In the natural world directions are determined according to the rising and setting of the sun, and generally directions are determined in relation to north. In the spiritual world, however, the Lord is seen in the east like a sun, and all the directions there are drawn from that direction 10 .

Daniel does not specify which direction he was looking in when he saw the ram, but it must have been the east, for it pushed westward, northward and southward. If, as we have seen, the ram represents goodness in our lives as a result of living according to the Lord’s Word, then it makes sense that the ram must have stood in the east, for the east represents the Lord and all goodness and truth flow from Him.

Apocalypse Explained 600: "An angel perpetually faces the Lord as a sun, and therefore before him is the Lord as the east, and behind him the Lord as the west, and at his right hand is the south, and at his left hand the north."

The ram pushed first westward. The “west” takes its meaning in relation to the east, and if the east is where the Lord is present, then the west is where the Lord is seen in a state of obscurity 11 . Perhaps another way of saying that is that in a regenerating person good actions from genuinely good motives begin to make their presence felt in the daily activities of a person so that his or her expressions of charity become more genuine and heartfelt, and less in service to the selfish side of one’s nature.

As the ram pushed westward, so it also pushed northward and southward. If one thinks of directions on two axes, one has east/west and north/south. The east west axis relates to a person’s love, to his or her charity and the presence of goodness in the actions a person does. The north/south axis, on the other hand, has reference to the way a person thinks. The south end of this axis represents thoughts based on truths when they are clearly seen and understood, while the northern end depicts things less clearly seen 12 .

The ram pushing in these directions, therefore illustrates the progress made by a regenerating person whose thoughts and feelings are being greatly influenced by the presence of truth in the mind, and a commitment to bringing that truth into daily life. This becomes more apparent when one thinks of the context in which Daniel’s dream takes place - the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, meaning the end of the state of selfishness in the external. As we know from the historical series, Belshazzar would be killed by Darius the Mede. At the same time we know that the internal motivating force in a person’s life, represented by Nebuchadnezzar is also undergoing profound change, shown by that king’s gradual recognition and acceptance of the Lord.

Thus regeneration is marching onward. This progress is aptly described by Daniel’s words that nothing “could withstand [the ram]; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great.”

Regeneration, as we have seen before, is not possible without the combats of temptation. As we make spiritual progress, our states of selfishness reassert themselves. We have seen this phenomena several times in this study. Nebuchadnezzar, after he was shown how he must be humbled, still exalted in his pride, and was reduced to the level of a wild animal. So too Belshazzar, warned of that he was found wanting, continued his wild debauchery. In our own lives we often become aware that the more primed we become to break a habit, the more strongly the habit exerts its control over us.

Arcana Coelestia 760: "Temptation is severe. In fact it impinges on, attacks, breaks down, and alters a person’s essential life."

The challenge came without warning. Daniel’s words echo the drama of the changes of state we go through as we struggle to bring selfish feelings, thoughts, attitudes and actions under control. One minute a person may be acting from the very best of intentions, and the next selfishness emerges to utterly destroy the activity by subverting it and leading into an act of selfishness. The mechanism used by the selfish, unrepentant and unregenerate side of our minds to accomplish this is depicted by the goat Daniel saw coming “from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground”.

Every detail of this and the next verses shows how strongly selfishness reasserts itself. Goats and sheep are closely related animals. Yet from time immemorial the difference in their nature has been used as symbolism for good and evil.
Sheep are portrayed in the Word as gentle creatures 13 , willing to follow the Shepherd, as we are shown so often in the Psalms and the Gospels. The Lord frequently used the image of sheep being rescued, or let into the sheep-fold. He is referred to as the gentle shepherd 14 .

Psalm 23:1: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

In sharp contrast to the gentle and peaceful image of sheep and shepherd is the harsh and destructive goat. The most damaging image given to the goat is the Lord’s teaching that at the day of judgment the sheep will be separated from the sheep, and be cast into hell. In that story in the Word, the goats represent those who had the opportunity to help the Lord in his times of distress, but had failed to do so.

Matthew 25:41: "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'"

It is not surprising therefore that Daniel’s vision of the ram pushing its way to the four corners of our minds is upset by the appearance of a goat. In every respect the ram and the goat are opposites, beginning with the fact that the ram must have come from the east, where the Lord is present, while the goat came from the west.

The west, as we saw earlier is a state of lack of charity. The goat came from our selfishness, and represents the selfish, unregenerate side of our minds re-exerting itself in an attempt to roll back the gains made by our conscience. To some degree this is similar to the action in the historical section of the book of Daniel as Darius the Mede’s one hundred and twenty satraps conspired to trick Daniel and thus destroy him.

Understanding that the goat came from the west makes it possible to grasp the spiritual concept of the goat itself. “Goats” represent states in people in which their charity, their love for the neighbour, does not form a part of their spiritual life. Such a person may have great stores of knowledge, but their lives remain untouched by this knowledge 15 . The cause of this is the basic selfishness which dominates a person’s life and which is described as Nebuchadnezzar. This inner selfishness naturally affects the way a person lives his or her life, depicted by Belshazzar. Any good done while a person is in this state is not real good, it is done only for the sake of one’s own person gain. The origin of a person’s goodness in this state, therefore, is not love for the neighbour, or charity, but is self. Thus the person cannot be a “sheep”, but rather is a goat, destructive of all spiritual values, and ultimately doomed to hell 16 .

This then is the male goat Daniel saw, coming from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground. Notice the distinction between “earth” and “ground”. In general the “ground” in human minds is the ability to receive goodness and truth from the Lord, and thus be regenerated 17 , while the earth represents the state of love a person has 18 . The implication is, therefore, that the challenge, or temptation to put aside the actual practice of good invades our minds with little warning. The goat’s feet touched neither earth, nor ground, meaning that this temptations do not draw from the sources of our spiritual life, which is goodness and truth from the Lord, as sheep do, but derive their origin in the reasoning of the human mind.

Arcana Coelestia 566: "In the Word a careful distinction is made between ground and land or earth. Whenever “ground” is used it means the Church or some aspect of the Church… But when “land” or “earth” occurs in the Word it frequently means where the Church or some aspect of the Church does not exist…"

This is the great challenge of spiritual life. So often we know what the Word teaches, and we know how and why we should use the truths there. A part of us is willing. Yet we still have external behaviour represented by the third year of Belshazzar’s reign - we still have attitudes and habits which are resistant and unwilling to change. Thus we fall into the trap of separating the things we know from the things we do. We fall into faith separated from charity, and as we stop acting according to what we know to be true, so states of goodness in our external life begin to perish 19 . When this happens, truth itself begins to perish, for the things a person then chooses to believe are things which favour their own tastes 20 . The result is a slide into both false thinking and evil action.

A Brief Summary of New Church Doctrine 84: "When charity is thus removed, good works, which are of charity, slip away from the mind, and are obliterated, so that they are never remembered, nor is the least effort made to recall them to mind from the Law of the Decalogue."

We fall into this trap by believing certain fundamental falsities which undermine spiritual progress, for example, we start to believe that we are incapable of actually doing good, or that we cannot do good without expecting some reward from it 21 . This challenge is extremely powerful, and the power is represented by the “notable horn between his [ie. the goat’s eyes]”. This horn represents the attractive power human reasoning exerts over people 22 - a power so strong that it puts all our advances into spirituality to flight.

Thus as Daniel watched the he-goat approaching from the west, the animal ran at the ram “with furious power.” The goat “was moved with rage against the him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns.” This violent action describes the rage with which evil and falsity attacks goodness and truth. We have seem some of this before, in the rage of Nebuchadnezzar against Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-nego for refusing to worship his image. Later in the rage of the one hundred and twenty of Darius’ satraps against Daniel for worshipping God.

It is the nature of evil to attack goodness, to continually resist goodness and to drag goodness down into the states of hell 23 . The tragedy for people who give in to this evils side of themselves, is that gradually their conscience is broken and lost - a decline shown in chapter seven when the four beasts arising from the sea are spoken of. In this chapter, however, it is the decline of one’s conscience and its ability to lead a person through life and is described by the ram’s horns being broken. As we saw earlier, the ram’s horns represent the power of good and truth in a person’s life, but when a person is in the grip of evil, good and truth have no influence over the way they feel and think, and consequently over how they act.

Arcana Coelestia 1683: "The inherent nature of evil is to wish to injure everyone, but the inherent nature of good is to injure no one. The evil are acting in conformity with their own life when they are attacking, for their constant desire is to destroy."

The actions of the he-goat illustrate the violence of evil against goodness perfectly. As the goat attacked the ram, there was no resistance from the ram, and so the goat “cast him down to the ground and trampled him.”

As Daniel watched the ram was defeated, and he observed that “there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand”. This is the darkest hour before the dawn. Remember that this vision takes place in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, and the “third year” represents the end of one state and the beginning of a new one. We know from the historical series that Belshazzar is finally killed by Darius the Mede, who elevates Daniel to a place of honour in his empire - but this state has yet to dawn. In the meantime, darkness is on the land - although morning is going to break.

Here's the next set of verses from Daniel 8:

8 Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.
9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land.
10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.
11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.
12 Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.

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This next section of Daniel’s vision describes the progress of evil and falsity in a person who separates him or herself from goodness. In order for our lives to be transformed by truth, the truths we know must come forth into activity, otherwise they simply remain exercises of the mind. When we act according to truth, our lives are transformed because they become reflections of the Lord’s Word. Our actions themselves become expressions of the Lord love from which the truths originated. Thus by living according to truth a person is changed by the Lord.

The exact opposite happens when we chose to ignore truth and live according to our own interpretations of right and wrong. When we do this, our actions do not draw themselves from the Word, but from our own self-centred version of what we claim truth to be. The result is that we only believe and only do things which serve us. In this state we can say that Nebuchadnezzar rules the internals of our minds, and Belshazzar our external thoughts and actions. The result is the profanation of Belshazzar’s feast, and the cruelty of Nebuchadnezzar’s decrees.

While the conscience is bound around by these evils, it seems as thought “nothing can deliver us from his hand”, and indeed without the intervention of the Lord, we would be lost. How easy it would be for hell to claim our lives is described in the events Daniel saw after the ram was put to flight.

As he watched, the male goat grew very great. The evils of life flooding into us when we turn aside from the power of good and evil, is powerful. They have the ability to obliterate everything else. This growth in power is described by the he-goat growing in size, and becoming strong.

More important than the sheer size of the goat, however, was that happened to its horn. When Daniel first describes this horn in verse five, he comments that the goat “had a notable horn between his eyes”, which represents the power of human reasoning over matters of goodness and truth. As he watched, the horn was broken, and from it grew four other horns.

This dramatic change in the horn has an ominous meaning in the depiction of the slide into evil. If the central “notable” horn represents human reasoning on spiritual matters, it also represents the false conclusions people come to. When we reason apart from the teachings of the Word, we open our minds to the selfish side of our being, with the result that we slip deeper and deeper into self-orientation.

Thus we could say that the single horn represents the basic principle that we know better than the Lord, that our belief and interpretation about life is more valid than what the Lord teaches in the Word. It also means that we will pick and choose the things we wish to believe in. If one starts from that point of view, it soon becomes apparent that every area of our thinking, and thence of our action, is going to be affected.

The horn breaking is not so much a destruction of the power of human reasoning, but a development into other areas of our lives. The horn “breaking”, therefore is the division of our false reasoning into many different falsities 24 .

The four smaller horns which came up in its place represent the joining together of these falsities with evil affections in our minds which are only too happy to be justified by our thoughts 25 . Thus as a person slips into this line of thinking, he or she may well find him or herself enjoying things which the conscience had labelled unacceptable, but has now been made acceptable by the new outlook, or excuse offered by the understanding. The result is a powerful combination of the will and understanding acting in unison and bent on gratifying self.

Notice that the four horns are deployed according to the “four winds of heaven”. As in the case of the ram, who came from the east, and pushed to the west, the north and the south, so without mentioning those quarters in detail, we are told that the four horns occupied those same areas. The four quarters in the Word represent different states of goodness and truth in a person. But by taking the negative correspondence, they can also describe the states of evil and falsity. Thus the areas of our minds, which had once been opened up to goodness and truth by the ram, are now changed into strongholds of evil and falsity by the goat’s horns.

So far, however, the challenge of evil to good in a regenerating person is still somewhat straight forward. Each person has two distinct aspects to themselves - the selfish and the good. During the course of regeneration these two sides alternate in the battles of temptation, and sometimes it seems as thought the darker side of our being is going to win. As the dawn of new life approaches, so that appearance grows increasingly stronger. Sooner or later it will take a great effort to throw off our evils altogether - but at this stage of the story we are not ready for that yet. Thus deeper and darker temptations swirl around us.

In these states one is reminded of Jesus on the cross, when all the world was plunged into darkness, and He cried out “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” It was still necessary for Him to die before the victory of resurrection.

So too with us. With the ram set to flight, and the goat grown so huge, with the four horns at the four corners of heaven, it seems as though things could not get any worse. The end is not yet near. “My time has not yet come!”

Thus as Daniel watched, one of the horns sprouted a little horn, “which grew exceedingly great towards the south, towards the east, and toward the Glorious Land”. This little horn marks a change in the decline of a person towards hell. The first four horns each represent the power of falsity in our lives, a falsity which generates evil, and which leads us further and further from heaven.

This little horn, however, represents a new kind of falsity, not a falsity which produces evil, but a falsity which is the result of evil 26 . At this point one may wonder what the difference is between a falsity which produces evil and a falsity produced by evil. The falsity which produces evil arises in a willingness or approve or justify some evil in a person’s life. The evil, however, is still only potential, and only comes into being when the person acts on that falsity. One could call this a falsity of permission, for it gives a person permission to act in certain ways.

However, the falsity which comes from evil is a natural consequence of this. When a person acts according to evil, when he or she embraces evil, then the evil changes the way that person views life. They no longer need the original falsity to give them permission to act evilly. Now they have tasted the fruit of evil, and draw nourishment from it. The result is a falsity arising in direct consequence of the evil.

Thus the little horn grew, as the power of falsity grows at speed when it draws its origin from evil. When one comes into this state, one had passed the point of reasoning about whether it is permissible to act in certain ways, now one does so without any conscience, without any bonds to hold one back. Thus the horn’s influence spread throughout, like a cancer.

The danger this type of falsity represents in our development cannot be underplayed. We are told that the horn grew towards the south, towards the east. As was shown before, the south represents a state of spiritual light 27 , while the east, where the Lord is in heaven, is a state of goodness 28 . The horn growing into these regions illustrates how the falsities rooted in evil actually begin to obscure and obliterate the light of truth and warmth of love we have from heaven itself.

The impact of this can be seen in the lives of people who give in to evil. They may know that a certain action is wrong because they have read so in the Word. Yet they continue nevertheless. In time, their persistence in that activity puts to flight the restraining bonds of the conscience, and as a result they come into the fullness of the activity. As this happens, so they begin to think in terms of the activity, and to loose the ability to think or will contrary to it. When this happens one passes out of a state of temptation, and into an acquiescence to evil itself.

As Daniel watched the progress of the little horn, he noted that it “grew up to the host of heaven, and cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.” In this action it was very similar to the fourth beast in chapter seven, with its great iron teeth, which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped the residue 29 .

The horn cast down some of the “host” or army and some of the stars of heaven, which we told symbolises the goods and truths of heaven 30 . “Stars” represent the knowledges of truth drawn from the Word. As we have seen throughout this study, truths are a person’s first line of defence against evil and falsity. The whole of Daniel’s life is a testimony to this. However, when a person lapses into a life of selfishness, which is made possible by misusing the things of the Word, then the person gives him or herself permission to act as they will. The result is the destruction of real faith and charity 31 . These are most dangerous to a person’s spiritual life, for they blot out any sense of sin, remorse or shame, and leave the person to the mercy of a life of unrestricted evil. The destruction of the sense of sin, and the knowledge that one has indeed committed evil, is described by the little horn growing towards the south which cast down the host and stars and trampled on them 32 . To trample them down means to utterly destroy them 33 .

Arcana Coelestia 4897: "That 'stars' have this signification in the Word is because they are small luminaries which shine at night, when they give forth into our atmosphere gleams of light, just as knowledge gives forth gleams of good and truth."

In the historical series this blotting out of the “stars” of heaven can be seen in the denial by Nebuchadnezzar of Daniel’s true name. By calling him “Belteshazzar”, the represents the way we deny the source and origin of truth, and when that is denied, it becomes only too easy to relegate it to the farthest corners of our minds and finally forget about it all together. However, this little horn casting down the host and stars of heaven is doing something far more sinister than simply forgetting the truth. It is the actual destruction of truth as far as possible. This is done by twisting it around until it looses all meaning and power.

The state of evil and falsity which then rules the person mind are worse than any other sort 34 . If a person lapsed into evil because of ignorance, or from having been taught falsities they still have a spiritual defence. On the other hand, to commit falsity with malice of forethought, when one knows the truth and chooses to reject it, and misuses the truth in such a way to make it permissible, then that person comes into a deeper level of falsity. The result is that without a recognition of goodness and truth from the Lord, the person in this state looses their intelligence and wisdom, for these originate in truth 35 . In this state falsity and evil are confirmed in the person’s mind, and that person is alienated from the presence of the Lord.

To compound this matter, the horn exalted itself as high as the Prince of hosts. Here again we see the similarity of imagery to the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah, which treats of Lucifer, son of the dawn, exalting himself to God. This is the very nature of selfishness, and the end to which all selfishness tends, for loving self is opposite to loving God, and should a person allow unbridled selfishness in his or her life, then eventually that person will challenge God Himself.

In this state there is no possibility of genuine worship of God at all. Thus the horn “took away the daily sacrifices”. Sacrifices in the Word are part of worship, and worship is based on humility. If a person cannot, or will not humble him or herself before the Lord, then there can be no worship. The effect of the horn exalting itself to the level of God in a person’s mind, is to destroy humility, for a person in that state thinks he or she knows best, and is willing to please self.

It is also said that the horn cast down the sanctuary of the Prince of Hosts, meaning that nothing would be considered sacred or holy any longer.

A person in this state lapses into the very depths of hell, for all spiritual value, all real hope for salvation, disintegrates in the face of the terrible selfishness rampant in the person’s heart. In its place is a sea of self-centred willing, thinking and acting. The horn, with all its power, was given an army "to oppose the daily sacrifices, and he was cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered."

The next two verses are:

13 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, "How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?"
14 And he said to me, "For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed."

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The vision Daniel witnessed describes the final states of evil in a regenerating person. From states of spiritual progress, represented by the ram pushing in all directions, one comes into alternate states of degeneration, depicted as the ram with his fearful horns. These alternations of state are of vital importance to ones spiritual development, because in the process of regeneration one moves from a state in which one has no spiritual life to one in which he or she has. Because regeneration is a process which takes place during the whole course of a person’s life, a person is often between these two states, and yet one has to be in one or within the other. So they alternate.

Arcana Coelestia 933: "The state of a person when he is being regenerated resembles ‘cold’ and ‘heat’, that is, a point when faith and charity do not exist and then when they do."

The Writings offer insight into how these alternations work:

Every time a person is engrossed in his own bodily and worldly interests faith and charity do not exist, that is, it is a period of cold. For at such times it is bodily and worldly interests that are active… When, however, the bodily interests in a person and those of his [unregenerate] will are inactive and quiescent, the Lord acts by way of his internal man and at that pint faith and charity are present with him, which here is called ‘heat’ 36 .

We see the roots of this alternation very clearly in chapter seven. When a person sees evil and the power of falsity in their lives, as described by the four beasts arising from the sea, and one judges them according to their knowledge and love for truth itself, then life begins to change. As we saw in chapter seven, however, although the beast was killed, nevertheless the lion, the bear and the leopard had “their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time” 37 . Judgment changes the way we look at our lives, but it doesn’t by itself take away the evils to which we are prone. Those have to be overcome by temptation.

It is in this vision that we see the mechanism of overthrow. First the one state, the ram, then the other, the goat. Of course the most pertinent question arising about this progress is how long it will last. Remember that this vision was seen in the third year of Belshazzar, and that the third year represents the end of one state and the beginning of the next. According to this we know that eventually the states of evil will pass away completely, and we will be delivered. But how long?

Daniel heard this very question from heaven: “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?” The answer is one of those verses in the Word which, without the internal sense to explain is, has exercised human minds for centuries.

And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary will be cleansed.”

This is how the verse is translated in the New King James Version of the Bible. Unfortunately it is not an accurate translation, leaving out some very important words. If one turns to the American Standard Version, one find the verse translated as follows:

And he said to me, Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

The difference seems minor, but by leaving out the “mornings” and “evenings”, the translators have left out a vital part of the information the Lord has given us. Swedenborg translates the passage differently, relying on a literal interpretation of the original Hebrew. Translated from his Latin the verse reads:

"And he said unto me, Even unto the evening, the morning, two thousand three hundred; for then shall the holy thing be justified."

This is the translation we shall use for this purposes of this exposition, for it does no good to leave words out, or to lump “evening” and “morning” together and turn them into “day”. Similarly, although the meaning is much the same, it does not use to speak of “the sanctuary shall be cleansed” when in fact the original says that “the holy thing shall be justified.”

How long, then, shall this state of alternation between goodness and evil last? The answer is quite clear. It involves the evening and the morning. As in all matters related to time in the Word, the internal sense deals with spiritual state, not temporal time. It is important, therefore to view this verse as a whole. Evening and morning are seen most clearly in juxtaposition to each other.

The terms evening and morning are frequently used in the Word to describe the end of one state and the beginning of the next. We have already seen in many places how “night” represents states of spiritual darkness and obscurity.

Arcana Coelestia 7844: "In the Word throughout mention is made of “evening”, and by it is signified the last time of the church, and also the first time; the last with those among whom the church is ceasing, and the first with those among whom it is beginning."

Evening as a prelude to the night means much the same. Spiritual obscurity has its origins in the things which belong to human selfishness and greed, for as we have seen, these block out the light of truth from the Lord 38 .

In sharp contrast to this is the breaking light of dawn, when shadows are put to flight and the world is transformed by the sun. This early light has precisely the opposite meaning from the darkness of evening. It is the time when truth shines into human minds, and the Lord’s kingdom can be clearly seen in its light 39 .

In the Arcana Coelestia, a series of distinctions are made between evening and dawn, which help greatly in understanding these two different states:

Evening:
• a state of shade, or of falsity and of no faith
• all things that are a person’s own
• a state of no faith

Dawn
• A state of light, or of truth, and of the knowledges of truth.
• whatever with a person which is from the Lord
• a state where there is faith
• the coming of the Lord.

Now perhaps it is possible to grasp the answer to the question of how long the states of alternation will last - to the evening and the dawn, in other words, when one passes from a state of no faith, and a life according to one’s own selfishness, to a state in which truth rules completely. In this latter state one will live from the Lord, for the power of selfishness will have been destroyed, and the person will be free to draw from their conscience for spiritual leadership.

In the historical series this state is the end of the reign of Belshazzar and the subsequent leadership of Darius the Mede, for Darius, even though he ruled Babylon, and even though he was susceptible still to flattery, prised Daniel. In this reign Daniel became second only to the king himself, wielding real power. Thus we see the triumph of the conscience over selfishness.

One should not ignore the concept of time in this verse, however. The evening and morning would continue two thousand three hundred. As elsewhere the numbers are vitally important. Two thousand draws on two basic numbers: two and multiplies of ten. Two, as we have seen in earlier chapters, contains the concept of joining two things into a marriage or union 40 . This conjunction, however, only comes about through states of conflict and toil 41 . The number “ten” represents states of completion and fullness.

The implication, therefore, is that these alternations of state will continue through the temptations of a person’s life until the state described as three hundred occurs. Again this number is a composite between “three” and multiples of ten. “Three” describes, as we have seen earlier, a state which is full and thus the beginning of a new state. Ten represents fullness.

The answer, therefore, as to how long alternations of state will last is that they will last until they have run their course, and the person is ready to put aside the evening states, and fully embrace the morning.

Here's a fourth set of verses:

15 Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.
16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, "Gabriel, make this man understand the vision."
17 So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end."
18 Now, as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me, and stood me upright.
19 And he said, "Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be.
20 "The ram which you saw, having the two horns-- they are the kings of Media and Persia.
21 "And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king.
22 "As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.
23 "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes.
24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.
25 "Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means.
26 "And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future."

The prophets of the Old Testament saw visions, but they had no idea what these visions meant. Daniel was no exception. He had seen a ram defeated by a goat, not an ordinary goat, but one with a “notable” horn. He must have grown increasingly puzzled as he watched the horn break and four lesser horns grow out of it. His puzzlement may have turned to fright and despair when he saw the power of the little horn as it grew towards the south and interfere with the daily sacrifices. He watched all if this, but didn’t understand what it meant.

He writes that he saw the vision, and was “seeking the meaning”, when the next vision broke upon him. This time he heard the voice of a man between the banks of the Ulai, and suddenly saw a man standing before him. He was afraid and fell on his face.

As in chapter seven, once again the vision is explained. In chapter seven, however, it is Daniel who asks for interpretation. In chapter eight the angel Gabriel is sent to explain it to him. The explanation in chapter seven is largely a reiteration of what Daniel had already seen. In chapter eight new information is introduced which leads to a deeper understanding.

Daniel begins by commenting that he wanted to understand the things he saw, and suddenly “there stood before him one having the appearance of a man”. In chapter seven we are not sure who Daniel asks, for he says he asked “one of them who were standing near” 42 . In this vision, however, it is very different. Daniel sees a man.

Remember that Daniel was in the citadel at Shushan, on the banks of the River Ulai when he sees this vision. As he saw the man so he heard a voice from between the banks of the Ulai river. Earlier it was noted that “rivers” refer to matters of truth and wisdom in a person. When describing the citadel at Shushan on the banks of the Ulai, it was pointed out that the river took its negative meaning, being the falsities which feed and protect the love of self.

However, each correspondence has both a positive and a negative correspondence. When the River Ulai is seen in context of the Babylonian palace, it makes sense to draw out the negative sense. Yet when the voice calls to the angel Gabriel from within the banks of the river, then one must assume a positive correspondence. In this context therefore, the river Ulai represents the wisdom of God being communicated to Daniel by means of the angel Gabriel.

Gabriel is mentioned four times in the Word, in Daniel chapters eight and nine, and twice in the Christmas story given in the book of Luke. Daniel refers to Gabriel as “the man Gabriel” who could fly swiftly (more about this in chapter nine), while in Luke Gabriel is clearly identified as an angel, who, as he said to Zacharias in the temple, stands in the presence of God.

In Hebrew the name “Gabriel” means a warrior, a valiant man, which is a very apt description of the angel. The Writings tell us that Gabriel was not a single angel, but the human appearance of an entire society or community of angels 43 . The name given to the angel, is in accordance with the function he performs 44 . Angels, or rather societies of angels in human form appeared to prophets to communicate Divine Truth to them 45 . The Arcana Coelestia makes this point when it says:

Arcana Coelestia 8192: "'Angels' signify Divine truth, for the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord makes heaven, consequently also the angels who constitute heaven; for in so far as they receive the Divine truth which is from the Lord, so far they are angels."

Apocalypse Explained 302: "A 'strong angel' signifies heaven because the whole angelic heaven before the Lord is as one man, or as one angel, likewise each society of heaven; therefore by 'angel' in the Word an angel is not meant, but an entire angelic society, as by 'Michael', 'Gabriel', 'Raphael'.

The truth Gabriel came to present to Daniel, therefore, was the meaning of the vision the prophet had just witnessed. As he approached Daniel, the latter was afraid and fell to his face. Here we have a response of the conscience when it is brought into close approximation to truth itself.

One must be wary of the trap of believing Daniel to be some disconnected observer of visions. The historical series in the first part of the book shows that this is not so. Daniel represents a person’s conscience, or the presence of truth guiding the human mind. Such a presence can never be simply neutral. The conscience plays a tremendous role in the way our minds develop, partly because it is through the conscience that we are able to understand the end result of selfishness and evil. The conscience reminds us of what good and truth really are, and how to come back into these states.

When we are in alternate states of evil, the conscience somewhat goes into abeyance, but it does not leave us, otherwise all our spiritual development would cease. Thus Daniel, while he watched the visions was seeing, correspondentially, the interaction of the conscience with the life of selfishness.

It is no surprise, therefore, that when the angel Gabriel, representing the Divine truth itself, came near to our human conscience, representing Daniel, that Daniel fell on his face. Symbolically this means the submission of the conscience to a higher authority - truth itself.

When a person is in a state of temptation, as is represented by this vision, it often appears that one’s knowledge and understanding of the Word disappears 46 . This is the state represented by Daniel falling on his face in submission to a higher truth, and is later shown by his statement in the next verse that he “was in a deep sleep”, for, as we have seen earlier, sleep represents a state of spiritual obscurity.

Arcana Coelestia 1999: "True adoration, or humiliation of heart, carries with it prostration to the earth upon the face before the Lord, as a gesture naturally flowing from it. For in humiliation of heart there is the acknowledgement of self as being nothing but filthiness, and at the same time the acknowledgement of the Lord's infinite mercy toward that which is such; and when the mind is kept in these two acknowledgements, the very mind droops in lowliness toward hell, and prostrates the body; nor does it uplift itself until it is uplifted by the Lord. This takes place in all true humiliation, with a perception of being uplifted by the Lord's mercy."

It is part of the Lord’s mercy that He never leaves people in this state. The angel Gabriel, representing the power of the Lord’s truth, came to Daniel to begin the task of explaining what the vision meant. He begins by putting it into context: “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.” Notice that all the words of this statement are addressed to the understanding, the part of our minds which draws information from the Word, processes it into useful spiritual guidance. The conscience is the function of that truth in the understanding.

Thus the angel begins, “understand, son of man.” This latter phrase also speaks to the truth within us. Generally in the Word “sons” represent truths 47 , while the “son of man” is the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and received in our minds 48 . Prophets were called “sons of men” because they represented the Lord in that they communicated His truth to the people of this world 49 .

Thus when a person is in an state where the evil or selfish side of his or her personality is in ascendancy, and when our conscience has been set aside, the Lord lifts our minds to higher things. This is the dawn of the new state about to be break into our minds. The truth present with us comes forward to remind us of the presence of the Lord, and to reawaken our conscience and thus spur us on to resist the evil.

The angel reminds Daniel that this “vision refers to the time of the end”, the states when evils in our external man will finally be brought under control, and we will be freed from their influence 50 . In places where the “time of the end” is referred to in the Word, it deals with “the consummation of the age is the last time of the church or its end”. Thus “end” represents a completion of a state, “when there is no Divine truth left except what has been falsified or set aside.” Using this concept, the angel’s words describing Daniel’s vision as a vision of “the end” refers to the final states of evil in a person before they are completely rejected and set aside. This idea is also contained in the opening words of the chapter, that Daniel saw this vision “in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar”.

That time, however, has not yet come. Daniel, flat on his face on the ground, and asleep, is touched by Gabriel, who stood him upright. In this new state, the explanation of the vision could begin.

Gabriel describes the dream in terms of the kings of the world. Thus the ram’s horns are the kings of Media and Persia. The goat is the kingdom of Greece, and the four horns coming from the broken “notable” horn are four kingdoms. The little horn growing to the south is a king with fierce features, “who understands sinister schemes”.

Over the centuries there have been many attempts to explain this vision in human and political terms, and in some ways the explanations often work. The kingdom of Media and Persia were in fact overrun by Alexander the Great, the Greek king. On his death his empire was divided into four regions. The king with the fierce features, then replaced them, and could be compared to the Roman Empire. This king would even rise against the “Prince of princes”, meaning that the Lord Himself would be put to death by the Romans. Finally however, the last king would be “broken without human means”, depicting the collapse of the Roman Empire 51 .

The difficulty with this interpretation of Gabriel’s words is that they do not really address the issues of the human soul. Perhaps historically this prophecy did come true in the events of the times, but the Lord is not concerned with temporal and political things. His concern is for the salvation of the human soul, and for this reason the Word is given to us. Each and every detail of the Word deals with, amongst other things, human salvation. It is necessary then to turn aside from political speculation and delve into the meanings given in the Writings.

-----
Footnotes:

1. Matthew Henry’s Commentary notes in passing that some estimate seventeen years, others three. Clarke does not mention the issue at all. 2. Arcana Coelestia 2788, 4119, 5159, 4901 other places cited in one. 3. John 8:31,32.

4. Clarke at this reference. 5. Apocalypse Explained 717, c{ign20} 316. 6. Arcana Coelestia 78,

7. cf. True Christian Religion 537.

8. Apocalypse Explained 600.

9. Apocalypse Explained 716.

10. Heaven and Hell 141.

11. Arcana Coelestia 3708. 12. Arcana Coelestia 3708.

13. Jeremiah 11:19

14. Isaiah 40:11

15. cf. Apocalypse Explained 817 - goats signify those who are in faith separated from charity.

16. Cf. Apocalypse Revealed 17.

17. Arcana Coelestia 1068, 3671, 10670.

18. Arcana Coelestia 585.

19. Apocalypse Explained 741:2.

20. Arcana Coelestia 4669.

21. Apocalypse Explained 741[2].

22. Arcana Coelestia 4769.

23. Arcana Coelestia 2410, 3895,

24. Apocalypse Explained 418.

25. Apocalypse Explained 410.

26. Arcana Coelestia 3448.

27. Arcana Coelestia 4769, 3708.

28. Arcana Coelestia 1250, 3249, 3708.

29. Daniel 7:7.

30. Apocalypse Explained 632, 720.

31. Arcana Coelestia 4769, Apocalypse Explained 720.

32. Cf. Apocalypse Explained 573,

33. Apocalypse Explained 632.

34. Apocalypse Explained 720.

35. Apocalypse Explained 179.

36. Arcana Coelestia 933.

37. Daniel 7:12.

38. Arcana Coelestia 22.

39. Cf. Arcana Coelestia 2405.

40. Arcana Coelestia 5194.

41. Arcana Coelestia 900.

42. Daniel 7:16.

43. Apocalypse Explained 302.

44. Heaven and Hell 52, Arcana Coelestia 8192.

45. Arcana Coelestia 8192.

46. Arcana Coelestia 2694, 5279.

47. Arcana Coelestia 9807.

48. Arcana Coelestia 9807.

49. Doctrine about the Lord 28.

50. Cf. True Christian Religion 753ff.

51. Clarke at this chapter.

-----

Swedenborg

Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 179


Další odkazy Swedenborga k tomuto verši:

Arcana Coelestia 411, 2830, 2832, 10042, 10182

Apocalypse Revealed 270

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 83

Conjugial Love 26

Faith 65, 66, 67

True Christian Religion 157, 537


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 316, 817

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 38

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