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但以理書 9:13

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13 這一切災禍臨到我們身上是照摩西律法上所的,我們卻沒有求耶和華我們的恩典,使我們回頭離開罪孽,明白你的真理。

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Exposition of Daniel's Prayer      

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

Keeping balance in one’s spiritual life is of supreme importance—and perhaps this is why the book of Daniel is given in two such clearly demarcated forms. The first six chapters show us the history of Daniel’s life in Babylon, from the time of his captivity as a youth to his elevation to power in the reign of Darius the Mede. The overall view of these first six chapters is to bring home the concept that our spiritual life is an ongoing progression. Certainly there are hard times, and certainly the selfishness in our characters is often hard to beat. Implicit in the history, however, is the ongoing promise that this evil can and will be beaten. We need to keep this in mind.

As we turned to the prophetic section of the book the importance of the historical section becomes clearer. In chapter seven, in the midst of the horrific vision which tells of our slide into evil, we need to remember the context of the vision—it takes place in the reign of Belshazzar. So does the vision of chapter eight, which describes the alternating states of good and evil, and particularly the state in which evils seems to so completely take over and dominate our minds.

In these visions there is a tendency to feel desperate. Will any goodness ever return to us, will the state ever swing back towards goodness? Daniel’s reaction to this vision was to faint and feel sick for days.

The darkness of night, however, is always broken by the gleams of morning light. In the depths of temptation, even to the point of despair, we are given the gift of the long view shown in the historical section. Belshazzar the king, during whose reign Daniel saw these visions, was deposed by Darius the Mede, and even though he faced terrible dangers during those years, nevertheless, he rose to a position of great power.

Belshazzar, as we have seen earlier depicts states of selfishness and evil in our external life. When we allow ourselves unfettered selfishness, when we willingly permit ourselves to discard the restraining truths of the Word, then our evil will express itself in daily life. Even the good things we do, when done from a selfish motive, are really expressions of evil. Like Belshazzar before us, when we are in this state, we wantonly profane the love of goodness and the understanding of truth given to us by the Lord.

This state, however, never lasts unless we choose to embrace it of our own free accord. As in the case of the four beasts shown in chapter seven, there will be a time of judgment. Like Belshazzar we will be weighed in the balances and found wanting.

The important question, however, is what do we do to turn the tide of evil, or tip the balances of our lives? Even in chapter eight, when Daniel sees the vision of the ram and the goat, he was within the walls of the citadel of Shushan, showing us that no matter how much we slide into evil, the Lord provides that our conscience is always able to be activated, and from that conscience we are able to see our condition, repent and turn away from it.

It follows, then, that chapters seven and eight outline a natural progression from the origin of evil in our lives—described as the beast, to the rule of evil, shown by the actions of the goat. Liberation comes from humility and repentance before the Lord, and chapter nine focuses on repentance leading the way to a fulfilment of spiritual life.

VERSES 1-2
We first met Darius the Mede at the end of chapter five, when he swept into Babylon and killed Belshazzar on the very night of the profane feast. Specific mention was made that Darius was sixty two years old at the time. Analysis of the way Darius exalted Daniel, especially his unwillingness to have him put to death, indicates that Darius represents a person who is in the process of turning aside from pure selfishness into a state where the conscience, symbolised by Daniel, is elevated to high rank. In this state the conscience begins to rule our thoughts as Daniel ruled in Babylon, second only to himself (Cf. Daniel 6:3).

The reign of Darius stands as a counterpoint to that of Belshazzar, both in the historical and prophetical series. In Belshazzar’s reign, epitomising selfishness, Daniel saw visions of beasts putting goodness to flight. Those states, as said before, alternate with other states when the conscience is able to direct our feelings and thoughts. These latter are states of spiritual lucidity and recommitment to regeneration, and by correspondence take place during the reign of Darius.

Daniel, who had lived long in Babylon, surviving both Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, found himself an old man. He had been carried into captivity as a young boy, and later watched from afar as Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonian hordes. From his privileged vantage point he was aware of the vast number of Jews compelled to live in Babylon on order from the king. He was equally aware of the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, and knew that this meant that no sacrificial worship could take place. Yet Daniel also knew prophecies indicating that this state of affairs would not last forever. He states that he "understood by the books the number of years specified … that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem." Years in the internal sense of the Word never refer to time, always to state, and the number of years therefore refers to the states a person must go through in their selfish, or Babylonian, states, before they are set free to live again without the influence of selfishness to mar their lives.

The desolation of Jerusalem is the damage done to the church, or more specifically the states of genuine goodness and truth within us, by the evils of selfishness. Selfishness is the single most destructive human emotion, as we have seen from the violence of its depiction in the actions of Nebuchadnezzar, the profanation of Belshazzar, and in the terror of the beast and the goat. Yet if the human conscience is nurtured and fed, if it is lifted up, as Darius honoured and promoted Daniel, then the conscience will flourish, and spiritual sanity will be restored.

The process takes a lifetime. "Two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings," Daniel was told—alternations continuing through states of temptations until it is possible for a new state to break into our minds and establish itself there.

In chapter nine the seventy years of Babylonian captivity describe the steady breakdown of the power of selfishness over us. "Seventy years" of captivity before release represents the states in us before the Lord is present. When we are in states of selfishness, our selfishness blocks out the presence of the Lord. As we regenerate, however, the selfishness is put aside, and the Lord is able to draw closer. The presence of the Lord in our lives has the effect of further breaking down our selfishness, and ushering in new states of life freed from these.

Seen from this point of view, chapter nine follows clearly from chapters seven and eight. The pendulum of life has swung, we are aware of our evils, in fact we are still immersed in them, but by the power of the conscience we begin the process of breaking free.

VERSES 9-19
Spiritual regeneration begins in humility. Daniel was aware of Israel’s captivity in Babylon, and longed for it to end. In humility he turned his face towards the Lord God, to make his requests by prayers and supplications and to emphasise his grief and mourning over this state of affairs with the time honour practices of fasting, wearing garments of sack-cloth and pouring ashes over his head.

These actions, rooted in the deepest of Old Testament times contain within them the very essence of repentance. We will forever remain slaves to selfishness unless and until we are willing to humble ourselves to the Lord. This begins when we recognise the work of the beast and the goat in our own lives, when we see Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar as twin kings of evil directing our inner and outer selves. It is easy to lay the blame for these states on others, to claim that our up-bringing was not good, for example, but in reality the responsibility is ours. The Daniel side of our minds needs to be active.

The first step of the spiritual activity which will eventually set us free is recorded in the words "Daniel set his face to the Lord God." That single physical motion is the beginning of the series of spiritual events in our lives which will eventually free us from selfishness. In the internal sense the "face" represents our internal states, which gives us the ability to see our lives from a different perspective than simply that of the senses (Arcana Coelestia 358, 5165) As we saw earlier, it was because of Daniel, or our conscience, that we are able to see anything in ourselves at all. Part of the judgment arising from truth is looking at ourselves, as we are, and rejecting the evil or grosser parts of our beings. Daniel turning his face to the Lord God takes on the meaning of a person focusing his or her internals on the presence of the Lord in them. To do this, they have to turn aside from their selfishness.

By fixing our sights on the Lord we are able to begin the process of repentance. Repentance is a process which involves a complete reorientation of our lives. We are told that “actual repentance consists in a person’s examining himself, recognising and acknowledging his sins, praying to the Lord, and beginning a new life” (True Christian Religion 528).

The visions of Chapter Seven and Eight, which show the origin and progress of evil in our lives, can easily be related to the self examination required in repentance. Chapter Nine deals more fully with the acknowledgement of sins, and prayer to the Lord for forgiveness.

Yet repentance can never begin without turning our faces towards the Lord God, for, as in the words of the Psalmist, all our sins are really sins against Him. Recognising this is the basis of true humility.

It is in this humility that Daniel proposed to speak to the Lord. Notice his words as he turned his face towards the Lord God "to make request by prayer and supplication." In the literal sense Daniel is praying for the restoration of Jerusalem and freedom from Babylon. In our lives, our request is for a return to the states of innocence and peace we last experienced in our infant years, with the difference that after regeneration this innocence is an expression of wisdom in contrast with infant ignorance.

Daniel turned to the Lord with "prayer and supplication." These words are not merely repetition of the same thing. In the Word where pairs of words are used in this way, it draws attention to the duality in the Word (Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 80-90, True Christian Religion 248-253). The Word is an outpouring of love and wisdom from the Lord, which is reflected in each and every detail, but most clearly when pairs of words are used to describe the same thing. "Prayer and supplication" as a pair of words, meaning the same thing, express both the love and wisdom from Lord, and by using them in this fashion, Daniel draws attention to the fact that our humility and repentance come from both the will and the understanding parts of our being.

Should we turn to the Lord with the will only, we may find that we wish to repent, but do not have any idea of how to do so. The desire may well eventually founder because it is not directed by the understanding. On the other hand, repentance which does not also draw from a will or desire to change has no depth. The intellectual side of our minds alone cannot lead us into a new life. So the two must go together, as partners, to lead us with by the desire of the will according to the wisdom of the understanding. Like Daniel, we need to turn to the Lord with "prayer and supplication."

Prayer, we are told "is talking to God and at the same time some inner view of the things that are being prayed for” (Arcana Coelestia 2535). Prayer is a very necessary part of our spiritual lives. We are told that a person can remove evils "only if he acknowledges the Divine Providence and prays that the removal be done by it” (Divine Providence 184). The power to overcome evils is given in response to the prayer (Doctrine of Life 31), which is described as "a certain opening of the man's interiors toward God” (Arcana Coelestia 2535). As our interiors open to the Lord, the power He used to fight against evil spirits is given to us to use as our own power, which puts us into a state of freedom to resist evil.

Notice Daniel’s actions in prayer. The matter for which he prayed was close to his heart, the deliverance of Israel from Babylonian captivity. He knew the prophecy of seventy years, and knew also that about seventy years had passed since the captivity had taken place. His prayer, however, was not one of demanding his rights, there was no arrogance in his tone, such as we sometime find in our own when we think the Lord has not lived up to His side of the covenant.

Daniel’s prayer was full of inner and outer humility. We see the outer humility first as he prepared himself for prayer by fasting and clothing himself in sackcloth and ashes. As in every detail of the Word this sequence of actions contains within itself a series of states, in this case states preparatory to prayer itself.

Daniel began with fasting. In the internal sense "to fast" means "to mourn on account of the lack of good and truth” (Apocalypse Explained 1189:2). In our prayer to the Lord for help in times of temptation and deliverance from it, it is important to begin with the attitude of recognition that we actually have no real good or truth in us. Our goodness is under control of the love of self, just as Daniel was, in spite of his high position, technically still a captive of the king of Babylon.

We can only begin to really break free of the bondage of self when we come to this recognition—and this is why Daniel had to witness those two terrible visions, so that he, and we through him, could see our own state, and be affected by it, and be moved by a desire to break free from it. The concept of "fasting" therefore, also contains a willingness to enter into combat against the Babylonian side of ourselves (Apocalypse Explained 730).

There is another element in the idea of fasting which is also of great importance here. "Fasting" also stands for the desire to learn the forms of good and the truths of faith (Arcana Coelestia 9050:7). Without this desire our spiritual progress grinds to a halt. A person who has no interest in acquiring knowledge about the forms of goodness and truth closes his or her mind to the presence of the Lord, remaining thus in ignorance and will eventually lapse, without resistance, back into a life of unfettered selfishness.

This fasting is in many ways analogous to the young Daniel, recently carried to Babylon from Jerusalem, when he refused to eat the food from the king’s table. Although he did eat fresh vegetables, technically he fasted in regards to Nebuchadnezzar’s food. "Eating" and "drinking" represent the assimilation of goods and truths in our minds, and in the opposite sense, the assimilation of evil and falsity. By refusing to eat the king’s food, young Daniel showed himself unwilling to partake of the feelings and thoughts arising from selfishness. It was really that unwillingness which sustained him during the course of his life, and now, as he begins to pray to the Lord, he once again fasts.

The reality of this in our own lives is very important. Our conscience is formed partly from an unwillingness to embrace evil, not only once but continually. When we come to repent our sins, this unwillingness has to be at the very core of our spirits, otherwise our repentance will be of no avail.

There are many examples in the Old Testament of people in a state of mourning who fast, wear garments of sackcloth and cover their heads with ashes. In the New Testament the Lord ties together the concept of grieving or mourning with repentance when He said, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes (Luke 10:13).

It was entirely in keeping with the customs of the Old Testament, therefore, for Daniel in his grief over the captivity of the people, to augment his fast with clothes of sackcloth and ashes on his head. In the internal sense to be clothed in sackcloth means to be in mourning because one does not one has not been receptive of Divine good and truth (Apocalypse Explained 637), and thus that good has been destroyed (Arcana Coelestia 4779). Ashes, which were placed on the head, or sometimes people rolled in them, represent the false thoughts and ideas a person has had on account of evil (Arcana Coelestia 7520).

Daniel’s actions are deeply symbolic of a person who is beginning the process of serious repentance. By fasting, wearing sackcloth and ashes he indicates the feeling of humility and sorrow, or contrition, we need in order to truly enter into repentance. While contrition is necessary to motivate us to repent, one needs to be careful that those intense feelings of sorrow about our evil states do not so dominate our thoughts that we feel that the sorrow itself is repentance. One needs to guard against falling into the trap of thinking that we are total depraved sinners without seeing any particular evil in ourselves which can be overcome by repentance (True Christian Religion 513). Repentance is an activity, not a feeling.

Daniel does not wallow in his sorrow, he directs his thoughts to the Lord with the words of prayer and confession. Repentance is a process beginning is self-examination done in a state of humility. A person who is repenting needs to then do two things after self-examination- prayer and confession. As one takes the findings of self-examination to the Lord in prayer, so one confesses ones sins to Him. Confession "will be that he sees, recognises, and acknowledges his evils, and finds himself to be a miserable sinner" (True Christian Religion 539). The person doesn’t need to list particular incidents of sin to the Lord, for the Lord is present in the process of self-examination, but he or she needs to have a clear understanding of the sins to be repented.

Once the person confesses to the Lord, it is necessary to pray to the Lord for forgiveness. Even though the Lord constantly forgives people their sins, but it is necessary to pray for forgiveness for our own sakes because it reminds us that forgiveness comes with the removal of sins, and sins are removed as we refrain from them and enter a new life. We also need to be reminded of the fact that the Lord does indeed forgive us our sins if we repent them. (True Christian Religion 539).

Daniel’s prayer is a model of confession and begging for forgiveness. He begins with a recognition of the Lord Himself. Notice the duality of the terms in his opening, "O Lord, great and awesome God." As we saw earlier, this juxtaposition of two names refers to the qualities of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. The name used for God in any given chapter of the Word indicates the quality or aspect of God present in the internal sense at that point. Generally the name "Lord" refers to the Lord’s love operating in people’s lives, while God describes the Divine truth which is the vehicle carrying love down to the level at which people can receive it (Arcana Coelestia 2921, 2769).

This opening of a prayer can seem like simply addressing the prayer to the Lord, but it is much more than that. It indicates that in the state of repentance we need to keep two things in mind, firstly, that the Lord is a God of love. Without this idea there would be no real reason to repent at all. If the Lord was a God of anger or revenge, then no matter what we do we would never be able to be reconciled with Him, for no human being can ever hope to prepare for the Lord a state so perfect that He would be appeased. If, however, one sees God as a God of love, then there the quality of mercy is allowed, and from this there is hope. Secondly, by using the term God, we are reminded of the order by which the Lord both creates and governs His creation. This order is inscribed by the Lord on all things, including the process of repentance. Daniel’s choice of words here is no accidental greeting to the Supreme, but carefully chosen because it conveys the fullness of God to us in a state of repentance.

The presence of the Lord in repentance is in order. Daniel continues that the Lord "keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep his commandments." Here again we see the positioning of two issues, covenant and mercy.

The Lord’s covenant, first given to Noah, and reiterated to Abram and many others after him is simple: if people obey they will prosper, if they disobey they will perish. The whole of the Old Testament bears testimony to this covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties, and in the Lord’s covenant the two parties are Himself and the human race. The covenant is the promise that people can be regenerated and so conjoined to the Lord (Arcana Coelestia 665, 666). Every impulse towards goodness and truth in our lives bears testament to this covenant.

However, it is also told in the pages of the Old Testament, and in our own lives, that we do not always embrace the Lord’s goodness and truth. We fall short in the part we play in the covenant. The nature of the human being is attracted to selfishness and a desire to dominate over others. This is why we end up captives in our own spiritual Babylon, dominated by Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Yet within the Lord’s covenant is the implicit promise of repentance. If we turn away from selfishness, the Lord can and will remit our sins, and we will be renewed. Daniel in his prayer is aware of the Lord’s mercy as a factor of the covenant, and appeals to it. We too need to be aware of this, for it inspires us with hope, and spurs us on to a rejection of evil.

Daniel continues then with a confession of the sins of Israel, "we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled." Notice again the duality of phrase, sin and committed iniquity. "To sin" means "to sin, to miss, to miss the way, to go wrong, to incur guilt" (Brown-Driver-Briggs definition no. 2398). While "iniquity" means "to bend, to twist, to distort” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Definition no. 5753). In these dictionary definitions one sees the fullness of Daniel’s confession. Not only was the sin from the will, which causes one to miss the way, go wrong and incur guilt, but also from the understanding as one bends, twists and distorts the truth. One can trace this process through the pages of Daniel, especially in the historical series, where in chapter two one sees the influence of the evil of selfishness on the understanding and in chapter three on the will. Both need to be cleansed, and so both need to be confessed.

Essentially "sin" is a state of disjunction from the Lord (Arcana Coelestia 4997), it is the breaking of the Lord’s covenant and arises in the loves of selfishness and greed. All people are born with an inclination towards evils, but they are not born "sinners" as is commonly believed by those who propound the doctrine of "original sin." Sin enters a person’s life when he or she becomes, through purposeful action, guilty of evil (Arcana Coelestia 7147), and so separated from the life of goodness and truth which is the basis of the Lord’s covenant.

In order for a sin to be a sin it must be done purposefully, or from intention, while knowing that it is opposed to the Lord’s teaching. We are told that “to sin is to do and think what is evil and false intentionally from the will, for such things which are done intentionally from the will are such as come forth out of the heart and defile man, consequently which destroy spiritual life with him” (Arcana Coelestia 8925).

Recognising sin in our lives, then, is recognition of the fact that we have turned aside from the Lord. We have broken covenant with Him, and can only be lead back into communion with Him through the process of repentance and reformation.

In a similar way "to commit iniquity" means to twist or distort the truth. There is a steady thread of this distortion running throughout Daniel, from Jehoiakim, king of Judah who represents a lust for evil and an aversion to truth (Apocalypse Explained 481:4), to the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and Chaldeans that Nebuchadnezzar called on to interpret his dreams. These represent the habitual thought processes we fall into to protect and enhance our selfish states. Whenever our minds are not directed by the conscience, our thoughts are dominated by the selfish will, with the result that we commit iniquity by thinking selfishly.

This kind of acknowledgement is the beginning of the formal process of repentance. As Daniel says in his prayer, "we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgements." In these words he captures the totality of human evil, both as to its motivation sin and the expressive thought. All sin, in one way or another, is a rebellion against God. As we have seen in earlier chapters Lucifer’s fall was occasioned by his rebellion.

Any general recognition of sin and iniquity of life, however, needs to be more than simply a general statement of evil. It does people no good to simply admit that of themselves they are sinners without specifying at least one sin. A person may know from the Word that he or she is a sinner, but unless that person actually searches out his or her evils, they remain as a source of spiritual infection (Charity 3). If we claim to be sinners without self-exploration, can cannot truly confess ourselves to be sinners (Arcana Coelestia 8390, The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 159) for our confession would have no basis in self-perception and would merely be a lip confession, which can be made even by evil men when the thought of hell-fire is present (True Christian Religion 517).

It follows then that Daniel highlights a specific example of how the Jews had sinned against God, which lead to their captivity in Babylon. He said, “Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land” (Daniel 9:6).

The sin of the ancient Jews was the ignoring of and disobedience to the prophets sent by the Lord to lead the people. King after king of Judea set up idols, worshipping them in place of the Lord, until finally the kingdom was overrun, the temple desecrated and destroyed, the people carried off into captivity or scattered. Jehoiakim, king of Judah at the time of the Babylonian captivity is a case in point. His father, Josiah, read the Word and restored the temple. He tore down idolatrous places of worship and re-instituted the Passover (2 Kings 23, 24). Jehoiakim, inheriting the throne at age twenty five, knowing full well the reforms of Josiah, and yet chose to reject these by "doing evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done” (2 Kings 23:37). In this way he ignored the Lord and disobeyed His teachings.

Much the same happens to us. When selfishness controls us it leads us to intentionally reject the teachings of the Word—even though we may pay lip-service to them. The result is a state of disobedience which can only be rectified through repentance. Each alternation of state, when we swing from goodness into evil is such an action. As Daniel says, we do not listen to the Lord’s prophets.

In the literal sense of the Word a prophet is one who preaches the truth, as did Elijah and Elisha, to name but two. However, in the internal sense a prophet represents the teaching itself, thus the doctrine from the Word (Arcana Coelestia 2534). As we have seen earlier, "kings" in the Word represent the ruling principles in our lives, and if these are false, then all our subsidiary thoughts, the "princes" will also be false.

The nature of sin and iniquity, then, is to allow the ruling principles in our minds, our "kings," and our thoughts derived from these, our "princes" to fall into falsity by ignoring the teachings of the Word. When a person can see this tendency within themselves, they are well on the way to truly confessing their sins to the Lord, not as an abstract state of life, but specific incidents of disobedience.

Part of this process of recognition and confession of sins is an observance of the consequences of one’s sins. Remember that Daniel is writing this prayer partly in response to the captivity of Judah—a captivity resulting from the neglect on the part of at least the king of Judah to obey the Word of the Lord. This captivity describes our states when we are held captive by the evils and falsities arising in selfishness. Daniel could clearly see that the historical captivity resulted from the disobedience of the kings of Judah. Can we see that our evils and their consequences are a result of our disobedience to the Lord? Can we come to the point at which we acknowledge our guilt to the Lord in Daniel’s words?

“Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against you.”—Such a cry to the Lord would be cold and sterile if there was not hope of redemption. The historical story of Daniel shows us, however, that there is always hope. The recurring theme is that the Lord is always with us, even in the darkest times to bring the light of knowledge and a renewed commitment to change. In times of repentance this is perhaps more important than at any other time, for when we repent we undertake to change based on our recognition of the states of evil and falsity within us. At those times we need to remember that the Lord does not bear grudges, and that the very force of His Divine Providence is leading us towards heaven.

The measure of the Lord’s mercy is highlighted in the concept that when one sins, one sins against the Lord Himself (Psalm 51:4). Daniel recognises that by not listening to the teaching of the prophets the Jews had "not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God." This is a further development in the recognition of sin in oneself. To reject and be disobedient to the teaching or doctrine of the Word is one thing, for the Word is open to many interpretations, it can be twisted this way and that to suit people’s will. The real damage to the Word comes, however, through the motive for the twisting. As we have seen in many places in Daniel, when the Word is twisted to underpin and protect selfish loves, then one does damage to the Lord Himself, for He is the Word itself. As Daniel points out, the prophets are "His servants," as teaching is a servant of truth itself.

The result is the disjunction of sin, a breaking of the covenant and separation from all the goodness and truth which originates in the Lord, and which is described in the book of Deuteronomy as a curse. There are too many curses to list, but they all indicate various states of evil which befall those who separate themselves from the Lord.

In Daniel the woes of captivity are indicated as being curses from the Lord on the Jews for disobeying the Lord, and it is easy to be sympathetic to this view. Evil, especially selfishness causes life to unravel, if not in this world, then certainly in the next. Relationships based on selfishness will never be happy, conflict dogs those whose only concern is themselves. This unhappiness and conflict may seem to be a curse or disaster sent by the Lord to punish the evil doer, yet it is a great truth that the Lord never punishes anyone for their evils (Arcana Coelestia 696, 697, 1857).

For a person who is in the process of repentance this is both a necessary and comforting thought, for if the Lord cast us into hell because of our sins, all hope would be lost and life would lose its point. We need to know that regardless of how dreadful our evils may seem, and how willingly we allow ourselves to be drawn into them, still the Lord is, as Daniel says "righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice."

It is important in order to keep a state of balance in repentance to remember the times the Lord has helped us in our captivity to selfishness. In his prayer Daniel remembers back to the liberation from Egypt. If we take the historical series of the book of Daniel as our guide, we can see the Lord’s hand in the way He patiently and continually led Nebuchadnezzar through terrible times to the eventual point where the king could praise the Lord as his God. Each detail of that journey is reflected in our progressive liberation from selfishness and all its attendant states. Finally as our inner motivations change, we can be lead to the state depicted in the reign of Darius when Daniel is given charge over the land.

Providence can never be seen in advance, only in hindsight (Divine Providence 178, 187). In the throes of temptation and repentance is seems as if the Lord has abandoned us, yet He is always there to show us the way to a new state of life.

VERSES 20-27
The wonder of prayer lies in the answers. Sometimes people are not certain whether the Lord listens to prayer, and whether prayer can ever change the Lord’s mind about something. This is not, or at least should not be the reason we pray. Prayer is for our benefit, for it focuses our minds upon the Lord and opens up the interiors of our minds making it possible for us to receive His presence. The answers to prayers are seldom given in loud or dramatic ways. More often than not the answer lies in a small quiet awareness of the Lord’s presence. As we are told in the doctrines, the answer comes as “…something like a revelation (which is manifested in the affection of him that prays) as to hope, consolation, or a certain inward joy” (Arcana Coelestia 2535).

Daniel prayed to the Lord for the salvation of Israel, captive in Babylon for seventy years. He prayed with deep humility, with an awareness of the evils of the Jews, and a willingness to confront those evils. The Lord answered his prayer.

When we are in the process of repenting, we too need to pray to the Lord in confession and in prayer for forgiveness and mercy. The fact of saying those prayers is powerful, for in confessing our sins to the Lord we acknowledge from humility of heart that the evils of our lives are not defensible. The action of prayer is, in many ways, the opposite and therefore the antidote to the rule of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar in our minds. While they are present we justify our evils, we permit and actively make possible states opposed to the presence of the Lord. But in confession this changes, and our minds are opened.

Supplication, or prayer for mercy does much the same thing. In our Babylonian states we are self-sufficient—we don’t need the Lord or His Word. Our minds are dominated across the axes of our will and understanding just as the he-goat in chapter eight extended the power of his horns to the four winds of the earth. By opening our minds in prayer, however, we acknowledge that this selfish power is not real power. Real power belongs to the Lord who can and will forgive us, and in so doing gives us the power to override selfishness and break its hold over us.

While Daniel prayed, he became aware of the answer from the Lord. The imagery in his words show us a great deal about how the Lord answers prayers from the heart. As he prayed he became aware of "the man Gabriel" who flew swiftly and reached him at the time of the evening offering.

In Chapter Eight we learned that Gabriel was in reality an entire society of angels (Apocalypse Explained 302). Gabriel represents the Divine truth itself drawing near to human conscience (Arcana Coelestia 8192). This is the first part of the Lord’s answer to our prayers. When we pray we ask the Lord to hear us. The essence of prayer in Daniel’s words are summed up in verse nineteen: “O Lord hear! O Lord forgive! O Lord listen and act!”

The Lord listens with His Divine truth, and answers with truth, represented by Gabriel flying down to Daniel, reaching him at "about the time of the evening offering." As we have seen many times in this study, "evening" is a state of obscurity caused by the presence of selfishness blocking out charity and thus faith. When we repent and pray to the Lord we are still in that state of obscurity, and yet part of the answer of prayer is to lift the darkness and give us insight into the nature of our lives and a clearer vision of how to overcome our evils. This is why Gabriel came in the evening, but notice his words to Daniel “Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.”

The answer to prayers is given as "hope, consolation, or a certain inward joy” (Arcana Coelestia 2535). These spiritual gifts come from the Lord’s love for all humanity, but love is always communicated by means of wisdom. In other words we cannot have a feeling of hope unless we have thoughts of hope. We will not experience consolation unless we know that things will turn out for the better. Without the thought process, faith if you will, there can be no inward joy, for joy, or any emotion cannot exist in a vacuum separated from the thought processes.

The Lord’s answer to Daniel’s, and our, prayers is by lightening the darkness in our minds. Gabriel came to bring "skill to understand," with us that is the skill to see the evils of life clearly. It means breaking away from the persuasive power of the astrologers, magicians, soothsayers and Chaldeans who held such power over Nebuchadnezzar. In the historical series we were shown how they failed the king whose questions could only be satisfied by Daniel, our conscience.

So it is with us. In the process of repentance our conscience leads us to see our sins and urges us to confess them to the Lord. As we do so, the Lord enlightens our minds. This makes it possible for us to see several things from His perspective, firstly the enormity of our sins, secondly the possibility of rejecting them and being forgiven, and thirdly real hope that we will be freed from them. All this takes "skill to understand," and an increasingly clear sight of the Divine truth.

Gabriel then begins to explain to Daniel. He goes back to the very point at which Daniel began his prayer of repentance—the seventy years of captivity in Babylon, saying “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24).

As we saw at the beginning of this chapter "seventy weeks" means the time of fullness from beginning to end of the Babylonian captivity (Apocalypse Explained 684). This period represents the steady breakdown of selfishness in our lives. When we are in states of selfishness we are held captive by the "Babylonians" within, yet with the rise of conscience to power, that hold is gradually broken, and the process is described by Daniel’s steady rise to power. The promise given to us in the process of repentance, therefore, is that we will eventually be liberated during the course of "seventy weeks."

Daniel was told that the captivity of seventy weeks would be upon his people and the city of holiness. The "people" are those states in us which belong to the church (Apocalypse Explained 684), or, in other words, all the states of goodness and truth, of charity and faith which are oppressed and held in bondage by selfishness. When we are selfish it is impossible to be in states of true charity—we cannot love other people when we love ourselves more, nor can we think in terms of truth clearly when our thoughts are clouded by habitual self justification. In these states of spiritual captivity, our conscience is present, as Daniel was present throughout the entire Babylonian captivity, to lead us to a state of repentance when bondage can be broken.

The "city of holiness" with us relates to the thought process based on truths from the Word which lead us into revolt against selfishness (Apocalypse Explained 684). While we are in spiritual bondage our thoughts are dominated by selfishness, but the Lord provides certain truths from the Word which form the basis of our conscience. These truths are the "cities of holiness" for they are from the Lord and make it possible for the Lord to be present in our minds, even in our darkest hours. It also makes it possible for the conscience to develop to the point where it can enter into active opposition against selfishness.

The seventy weeks "determined for your people and your holy city" are the states of life we pass through as we journey through our captivity. A person cannot repent from selfishness until he or she sees the quality of self, and rejects it, just as Nebuchadnezzar had to be brought down to a point of madness before he could be completely restored, and as Belshazzar had to be weighed in the balances and found wanting before he could be killed. We too have to pass through that process, and allow it to run its course, for it is only when we are moved with horror at our evils, as Daniel was moved to feel physically sick at the sight of the he-goat, that we can be led into true repentance, and then the Lord can come to us in full glory.

Gabriel’s words all built up to this point. One has to finish the transgression, make and end of sins and a reconciliation of iniquity, and then the Most Holy is anointed. In the Lord’s own life this verse meant that He would eventually unite the Divine to the Human through to process of glorification (Apocalypse Explained 624, 684). He did this by continual victories over hell from His own power (Arcana Coelestia 2025).

We overcome hell by the power of the Lord, and when we do so, we come into the states of peace and tranquillity which typify heaven, and yet that can only happen in a state of total rejection of evil and falsity (This state of rejection is called "vastation," and without it the Lord cannot be fully received (Arcana Coelestia 728)).

Having explained this to Daniel, Gabriel continues: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times” (Daniel 9:25).

In history the ancient Jews were liberated from Babylon by king Cyrus. They returned home with the intention of rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple armed with the confidence that the cost of rebuilding was be born by the state. Even the vessels taken by Nebuchadnezzar would be restored to their rightful places. A tremendous inertia set in, however. Only the oldest of the captives could remember Jerusalem after seventy years, and many of the Jews were firmly established in Babylon. Historian John Bright writes that “the early years of the restoration venture proved bitterly disappointing, bringing little but frustration and discouragement (Bright 1972:361, 363, 364).

These early difficulties were mirrored in Gabriel’s words to Daniel, that from the giving of the command to the restoration of the temple to the coming of the Messiah shall be "seven weeks and sixty two weeks." The "going forth of the command" means the end of the time of preparation. Specifically in the analysis in the Apocalypse Explained we are told that these Word signify the end of the Old Testament because it was fulfilled by the coming of the Lord. The "restoration and building of Jerusalem" describes the renewal of the church by the Lord’s coming (Apocalypse Explained 684).

In the story of regeneration, these concepts can be seen to apply to the establishment of a new state within the human soul who has undergone the process of repentance and who is in process of fulfilling his or her potential of the development of new spiritual states. Thus the "going forth of the command" can be seen to be the process of repentance, which is the true beginning of regeneration, while the "building of the Jerusalem" is the final, regenerated state in which the ends of selfishness have been defeated and one returns to true worship of the Lord in every aspect of life.

As in earlier chapters Gabriel provides Daniel with a time frame for this development. This should not be thought of as natural time, however, but as the progression of state through which one passes between repentance and regeneration. Regeneration does not spring into being fully formed the moment a person decides to repent. It is a life-time process involving the gradual transition from a self-oriented life to a selfless life. To manage this one needs to undergo the rigours of temptation and the discipline of self compulsion.

The time given by Gabriel is familiar. The time between the order and the building of Jerusalem is seven weeks. Here we see the repetition of seven, and the meaning is the same—the full cycle of life, indicating once again that rebirth is an ongoing process.

More interesting, however, is the statement that "after sixty and two weeks it shall be restored and built." The term "sixty two" is only used in one other place in the Word, in Daniel chapter five, where we are told that Darius was sixty two years old when he killed Belshazzar. At that point we saw that sixty two represents a state in which faith is developing, but has not yet reached its fullness, for "sixty" describes the progress we make, while "two" indicates the incompleteness of that progress.

By pointing this out we are prepared to realise that whilst repentance is a major step forward in our spiritual lives, by itself it is not enough. If we persist, however, that repentance will develop into the states of reformation and finally regeneration, and the city Jerusalem will be built in our minds.

The angel says that in sixty two weeks the "street will be built again, and the wall." A "street" describes the truth of teaching from the Word (Apocalypse Explained 684). This is not simply an intellectual knowledge of what the Word teaches but an insight into the relevance of that truth to our lives. This truth is clearly related to the conscience which has been developing in the person throughout the course of his or her life, and which is now coming to fruition in leading the person to repentance.

The New King James version here describes the wall being build around the city, but in the original language the term is more properly translated as a trench, a moat or a ditch (Brown-Driver-Briggs Definition #2742. Swedenborg uses the term "fossa" which is translated "moat" or "drainage ditch"). In the internal sense a "moat" represents the doctrine or teaching which leads a person through life. The street and the moat are two sides of the same insightful concept of truth which the Lord gives to us as a result of repentance and prayer.

However, we should also know, as was mentioned above, that repentance initiates one into states of temptation. As soon as we begin to shun selfishness, there is a reassertion of the selfishness. The result is that we enter into the alternations of state described in Daniel’s visions in chapters seven and eight. These alternations are states of temptation as we struggle to be freed from the evil sides of our personalities, and remain connected to the good. The city, street and moat, therefore would be built in "troublesome times," meaning that our spiritual life is regained with difficulty.

There will even be times when "the Messiah will be cut off," a concept similar to the vision in chapter eight, when one feels that one’s spiritual progress, described by the ram, is scattered by the he-goat. The "Messiah shall be cut off" indicates states of relapse into selfishness (Apocalypse Explained 684), although within that selfishness there is still the hope that as long as our conscience survives, like Daniel in the citadel of Shushan, there will be enough power to turn the corner once again and repent.

This is the promise of repentance. When we turn to the Lord in prayer of confession and thanksgiving, we need to know that while things will ultimately be all right, still there is a hard road ahead. Nevertheless we are not alone. The Lord answered Daniel’s prayer with honesty, and He answers our prayers in the same way. The city will be rebuilt, but there is work to be done in the rebuilding of it. Nevertheless, at the time of repentance, we can experience the hope, consolation and inward joy in knowing that the Lord walked this path before us, and from His own power fought and defeated these same inner demons. He gives us the power to walk that path.

Swedenborg

Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 180


Další odkazy Swedenborga k tomuto verši:

属天的奥秘 6752

揭秘启示录 662


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 937

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 38

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Exposition of Daniel's Prayer      

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

Keeping balance in one’s spiritual life is of supreme importance—and perhaps this is why the book of Daniel is given in two such clearly demarcated forms. The first six chapters show us the history of Daniel’s life in Babylon, from the time of his captivity as a youth to his elevation to power in the reign of Darius the Mede. The overall view of these first six chapters is to bring home the concept that our spiritual life is an ongoing progression. Certainly there are hard times, and certainly the selfishness in our characters is often hard to beat. Implicit in the history, however, is the ongoing promise that this evil can and will be beaten. We need to keep this in mind.

As we turned to the prophetic section of the book the importance of the historical section becomes clearer. In chapter seven, in the midst of the horrific vision which tells of our slide into evil, we need to remember the context of the vision—it takes place in the reign of Belshazzar. So does the vision of chapter eight, which describes the alternating states of good and evil, and particularly the state in which evils seems to so completely take over and dominate our minds.

In these visions there is a tendency to feel desperate. Will any goodness ever return to us, will the state ever swing back towards goodness? Daniel’s reaction to this vision was to faint and feel sick for days.

The darkness of night, however, is always broken by the gleams of morning light. In the depths of temptation, even to the point of despair, we are given the gift of the long view shown in the historical section. Belshazzar the king, during whose reign Daniel saw these visions, was deposed by Darius the Mede, and even though he faced terrible dangers during those years, nevertheless, he rose to a position of great power.

Belshazzar, as we have seen earlier depicts states of selfishness and evil in our external life. When we allow ourselves unfettered selfishness, when we willingly permit ourselves to discard the restraining truths of the Word, then our evil will express itself in daily life. Even the good things we do, when done from a selfish motive, are really expressions of evil. Like Belshazzar before us, when we are in this state, we wantonly profane the love of goodness and the understanding of truth given to us by the Lord.

This state, however, never lasts unless we choose to embrace it of our own free accord. As in the case of the four beasts shown in chapter seven, there will be a time of judgment. Like Belshazzar we will be weighed in the balances and found wanting.

The important question, however, is what do we do to turn the tide of evil, or tip the balances of our lives? Even in chapter eight, when Daniel sees the vision of the ram and the goat, he was within the walls of the citadel of Shushan, showing us that no matter how much we slide into evil, the Lord provides that our conscience is always able to be activated, and from that conscience we are able to see our condition, repent and turn away from it.

It follows, then, that chapters seven and eight outline a natural progression from the origin of evil in our lives—described as the beast, to the rule of evil, shown by the actions of the goat. Liberation comes from humility and repentance before the Lord, and chapter nine focuses on repentance leading the way to a fulfilment of spiritual life.

VERSES 1-2
We first met Darius the Mede at the end of chapter five, when he swept into Babylon and killed Belshazzar on the very night of the profane feast. Specific mention was made that Darius was sixty two years old at the time. Analysis of the way Darius exalted Daniel, especially his unwillingness to have him put to death, indicates that Darius represents a person who is in the process of turning aside from pure selfishness into a state where the conscience, symbolised by Daniel, is elevated to high rank. In this state the conscience begins to rule our thoughts as Daniel ruled in Babylon, second only to himself (Cf. Daniel 6:3).

The reign of Darius stands as a counterpoint to that of Belshazzar, both in the historical and prophetical series. In Belshazzar’s reign, epitomising selfishness, Daniel saw visions of beasts putting goodness to flight. Those states, as said before, alternate with other states when the conscience is able to direct our feelings and thoughts. These latter are states of spiritual lucidity and recommitment to regeneration, and by correspondence take place during the reign of Darius.

Daniel, who had lived long in Babylon, surviving both Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, found himself an old man. He had been carried into captivity as a young boy, and later watched from afar as Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonian hordes. From his privileged vantage point he was aware of the vast number of Jews compelled to live in Babylon on order from the king. He was equally aware of the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, and knew that this meant that no sacrificial worship could take place. Yet Daniel also knew prophecies indicating that this state of affairs would not last forever. He states that he "understood by the books the number of years specified … that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem." Years in the internal sense of the Word never refer to time, always to state, and the number of years therefore refers to the states a person must go through in their selfish, or Babylonian, states, before they are set free to live again without the influence of selfishness to mar their lives.

The desolation of Jerusalem is the damage done to the church, or more specifically the states of genuine goodness and truth within us, by the evils of selfishness. Selfishness is the single most destructive human emotion, as we have seen from the violence of its depiction in the actions of Nebuchadnezzar, the profanation of Belshazzar, and in the terror of the beast and the goat. Yet if the human conscience is nurtured and fed, if it is lifted up, as Darius honoured and promoted Daniel, then the conscience will flourish, and spiritual sanity will be restored.

The process takes a lifetime. "Two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings," Daniel was told—alternations continuing through states of temptations until it is possible for a new state to break into our minds and establish itself there.

In chapter nine the seventy years of Babylonian captivity describe the steady breakdown of the power of selfishness over us. "Seventy years" of captivity before release represents the states in us before the Lord is present. When we are in states of selfishness, our selfishness blocks out the presence of the Lord. As we regenerate, however, the selfishness is put aside, and the Lord is able to draw closer. The presence of the Lord in our lives has the effect of further breaking down our selfishness, and ushering in new states of life freed from these.

Seen from this point of view, chapter nine follows clearly from chapters seven and eight. The pendulum of life has swung, we are aware of our evils, in fact we are still immersed in them, but by the power of the conscience we begin the process of breaking free.

VERSES 9-19
Spiritual regeneration begins in humility. Daniel was aware of Israel’s captivity in Babylon, and longed for it to end. In humility he turned his face towards the Lord God, to make his requests by prayers and supplications and to emphasise his grief and mourning over this state of affairs with the time honour practices of fasting, wearing garments of sack-cloth and pouring ashes over his head.

These actions, rooted in the deepest of Old Testament times contain within them the very essence of repentance. We will forever remain slaves to selfishness unless and until we are willing to humble ourselves to the Lord. This begins when we recognise the work of the beast and the goat in our own lives, when we see Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar as twin kings of evil directing our inner and outer selves. It is easy to lay the blame for these states on others, to claim that our up-bringing was not good, for example, but in reality the responsibility is ours. The Daniel side of our minds needs to be active.

The first step of the spiritual activity which will eventually set us free is recorded in the words "Daniel set his face to the Lord God." That single physical motion is the beginning of the series of spiritual events in our lives which will eventually free us from selfishness. In the internal sense the "face" represents our internal states, which gives us the ability to see our lives from a different perspective than simply that of the senses (Arcana Coelestia 358, 5165) As we saw earlier, it was because of Daniel, or our conscience, that we are able to see anything in ourselves at all. Part of the judgment arising from truth is looking at ourselves, as we are, and rejecting the evil or grosser parts of our beings. Daniel turning his face to the Lord God takes on the meaning of a person focusing his or her internals on the presence of the Lord in them. To do this, they have to turn aside from their selfishness.

By fixing our sights on the Lord we are able to begin the process of repentance. Repentance is a process which involves a complete reorientation of our lives. We are told that “actual repentance consists in a person’s examining himself, recognising and acknowledging his sins, praying to the Lord, and beginning a new life” (True Christian Religion 528).

The visions of Chapter Seven and Eight, which show the origin and progress of evil in our lives, can easily be related to the self examination required in repentance. Chapter Nine deals more fully with the acknowledgement of sins, and prayer to the Lord for forgiveness.

Yet repentance can never begin without turning our faces towards the Lord God, for, as in the words of the Psalmist, all our sins are really sins against Him. Recognising this is the basis of true humility.

It is in this humility that Daniel proposed to speak to the Lord. Notice his words as he turned his face towards the Lord God "to make request by prayer and supplication." In the literal sense Daniel is praying for the restoration of Jerusalem and freedom from Babylon. In our lives, our request is for a return to the states of innocence and peace we last experienced in our infant years, with the difference that after regeneration this innocence is an expression of wisdom in contrast with infant ignorance.

Daniel turned to the Lord with "prayer and supplication." These words are not merely repetition of the same thing. In the Word where pairs of words are used in this way, it draws attention to the duality in the Word (Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 80-90, True Christian Religion 248-253). The Word is an outpouring of love and wisdom from the Lord, which is reflected in each and every detail, but most clearly when pairs of words are used to describe the same thing. "Prayer and supplication" as a pair of words, meaning the same thing, express both the love and wisdom from Lord, and by using them in this fashion, Daniel draws attention to the fact that our humility and repentance come from both the will and the understanding parts of our being.

Should we turn to the Lord with the will only, we may find that we wish to repent, but do not have any idea of how to do so. The desire may well eventually founder because it is not directed by the understanding. On the other hand, repentance which does not also draw from a will or desire to change has no depth. The intellectual side of our minds alone cannot lead us into a new life. So the two must go together, as partners, to lead us with by the desire of the will according to the wisdom of the understanding. Like Daniel, we need to turn to the Lord with "prayer and supplication."

Prayer, we are told "is talking to God and at the same time some inner view of the things that are being prayed for” (Arcana Coelestia 2535). Prayer is a very necessary part of our spiritual lives. We are told that a person can remove evils "only if he acknowledges the Divine Providence and prays that the removal be done by it” (Divine Providence 184). The power to overcome evils is given in response to the prayer (Doctrine of Life 31), which is described as "a certain opening of the man's interiors toward God” (Arcana Coelestia 2535). As our interiors open to the Lord, the power He used to fight against evil spirits is given to us to use as our own power, which puts us into a state of freedom to resist evil.

Notice Daniel’s actions in prayer. The matter for which he prayed was close to his heart, the deliverance of Israel from Babylonian captivity. He knew the prophecy of seventy years, and knew also that about seventy years had passed since the captivity had taken place. His prayer, however, was not one of demanding his rights, there was no arrogance in his tone, such as we sometime find in our own when we think the Lord has not lived up to His side of the covenant.

Daniel’s prayer was full of inner and outer humility. We see the outer humility first as he prepared himself for prayer by fasting and clothing himself in sackcloth and ashes. As in every detail of the Word this sequence of actions contains within itself a series of states, in this case states preparatory to prayer itself.

Daniel began with fasting. In the internal sense "to fast" means "to mourn on account of the lack of good and truth” (Apocalypse Explained 1189:2). In our prayer to the Lord for help in times of temptation and deliverance from it, it is important to begin with the attitude of recognition that we actually have no real good or truth in us. Our goodness is under control of the love of self, just as Daniel was, in spite of his high position, technically still a captive of the king of Babylon.

We can only begin to really break free of the bondage of self when we come to this recognition—and this is why Daniel had to witness those two terrible visions, so that he, and we through him, could see our own state, and be affected by it, and be moved by a desire to break free from it. The concept of "fasting" therefore, also contains a willingness to enter into combat against the Babylonian side of ourselves (Apocalypse Explained 730).

There is another element in the idea of fasting which is also of great importance here. "Fasting" also stands for the desire to learn the forms of good and the truths of faith (Arcana Coelestia 9050:7). Without this desire our spiritual progress grinds to a halt. A person who has no interest in acquiring knowledge about the forms of goodness and truth closes his or her mind to the presence of the Lord, remaining thus in ignorance and will eventually lapse, without resistance, back into a life of unfettered selfishness.

This fasting is in many ways analogous to the young Daniel, recently carried to Babylon from Jerusalem, when he refused to eat the food from the king’s table. Although he did eat fresh vegetables, technically he fasted in regards to Nebuchadnezzar’s food. "Eating" and "drinking" represent the assimilation of goods and truths in our minds, and in the opposite sense, the assimilation of evil and falsity. By refusing to eat the king’s food, young Daniel showed himself unwilling to partake of the feelings and thoughts arising from selfishness. It was really that unwillingness which sustained him during the course of his life, and now, as he begins to pray to the Lord, he once again fasts.

The reality of this in our own lives is very important. Our conscience is formed partly from an unwillingness to embrace evil, not only once but continually. When we come to repent our sins, this unwillingness has to be at the very core of our spirits, otherwise our repentance will be of no avail.

There are many examples in the Old Testament of people in a state of mourning who fast, wear garments of sackcloth and cover their heads with ashes. In the New Testament the Lord ties together the concept of grieving or mourning with repentance when He said, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes (Luke 10:13).

It was entirely in keeping with the customs of the Old Testament, therefore, for Daniel in his grief over the captivity of the people, to augment his fast with clothes of sackcloth and ashes on his head. In the internal sense to be clothed in sackcloth means to be in mourning because one does not one has not been receptive of Divine good and truth (Apocalypse Explained 637), and thus that good has been destroyed (Arcana Coelestia 4779). Ashes, which were placed on the head, or sometimes people rolled in them, represent the false thoughts and ideas a person has had on account of evil (Arcana Coelestia 7520).

Daniel’s actions are deeply symbolic of a person who is beginning the process of serious repentance. By fasting, wearing sackcloth and ashes he indicates the feeling of humility and sorrow, or contrition, we need in order to truly enter into repentance. While contrition is necessary to motivate us to repent, one needs to be careful that those intense feelings of sorrow about our evil states do not so dominate our thoughts that we feel that the sorrow itself is repentance. One needs to guard against falling into the trap of thinking that we are total depraved sinners without seeing any particular evil in ourselves which can be overcome by repentance (True Christian Religion 513). Repentance is an activity, not a feeling.

Daniel does not wallow in his sorrow, he directs his thoughts to the Lord with the words of prayer and confession. Repentance is a process beginning is self-examination done in a state of humility. A person who is repenting needs to then do two things after self-examination- prayer and confession. As one takes the findings of self-examination to the Lord in prayer, so one confesses ones sins to Him. Confession "will be that he sees, recognises, and acknowledges his evils, and finds himself to be a miserable sinner" (True Christian Religion 539). The person doesn’t need to list particular incidents of sin to the Lord, for the Lord is present in the process of self-examination, but he or she needs to have a clear understanding of the sins to be repented.

Once the person confesses to the Lord, it is necessary to pray to the Lord for forgiveness. Even though the Lord constantly forgives people their sins, but it is necessary to pray for forgiveness for our own sakes because it reminds us that forgiveness comes with the removal of sins, and sins are removed as we refrain from them and enter a new life. We also need to be reminded of the fact that the Lord does indeed forgive us our sins if we repent them. (True Christian Religion 539).

Daniel’s prayer is a model of confession and begging for forgiveness. He begins with a recognition of the Lord Himself. Notice the duality of the terms in his opening, "O Lord, great and awesome God." As we saw earlier, this juxtaposition of two names refers to the qualities of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. The name used for God in any given chapter of the Word indicates the quality or aspect of God present in the internal sense at that point. Generally the name "Lord" refers to the Lord’s love operating in people’s lives, while God describes the Divine truth which is the vehicle carrying love down to the level at which people can receive it (Arcana Coelestia 2921, 2769).

This opening of a prayer can seem like simply addressing the prayer to the Lord, but it is much more than that. It indicates that in the state of repentance we need to keep two things in mind, firstly, that the Lord is a God of love. Without this idea there would be no real reason to repent at all. If the Lord was a God of anger or revenge, then no matter what we do we would never be able to be reconciled with Him, for no human being can ever hope to prepare for the Lord a state so perfect that He would be appeased. If, however, one sees God as a God of love, then there the quality of mercy is allowed, and from this there is hope. Secondly, by using the term God, we are reminded of the order by which the Lord both creates and governs His creation. This order is inscribed by the Lord on all things, including the process of repentance. Daniel’s choice of words here is no accidental greeting to the Supreme, but carefully chosen because it conveys the fullness of God to us in a state of repentance.

The presence of the Lord in repentance is in order. Daniel continues that the Lord "keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep his commandments." Here again we see the positioning of two issues, covenant and mercy.

The Lord’s covenant, first given to Noah, and reiterated to Abram and many others after him is simple: if people obey they will prosper, if they disobey they will perish. The whole of the Old Testament bears testimony to this covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties, and in the Lord’s covenant the two parties are Himself and the human race. The covenant is the promise that people can be regenerated and so conjoined to the Lord (Arcana Coelestia 665, 666). Every impulse towards goodness and truth in our lives bears testament to this covenant.

However, it is also told in the pages of the Old Testament, and in our own lives, that we do not always embrace the Lord’s goodness and truth. We fall short in the part we play in the covenant. The nature of the human being is attracted to selfishness and a desire to dominate over others. This is why we end up captives in our own spiritual Babylon, dominated by Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Yet within the Lord’s covenant is the implicit promise of repentance. If we turn away from selfishness, the Lord can and will remit our sins, and we will be renewed. Daniel in his prayer is aware of the Lord’s mercy as a factor of the covenant, and appeals to it. We too need to be aware of this, for it inspires us with hope, and spurs us on to a rejection of evil.

Daniel continues then with a confession of the sins of Israel, "we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled." Notice again the duality of phrase, sin and committed iniquity. "To sin" means "to sin, to miss, to miss the way, to go wrong, to incur guilt" (Brown-Driver-Briggs definition no. 2398). While "iniquity" means "to bend, to twist, to distort” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Definition no. 5753). In these dictionary definitions one sees the fullness of Daniel’s confession. Not only was the sin from the will, which causes one to miss the way, go wrong and incur guilt, but also from the understanding as one bends, twists and distorts the truth. One can trace this process through the pages of Daniel, especially in the historical series, where in chapter two one sees the influence of the evil of selfishness on the understanding and in chapter three on the will. Both need to be cleansed, and so both need to be confessed.

Essentially "sin" is a state of disjunction from the Lord (Arcana Coelestia 4997), it is the breaking of the Lord’s covenant and arises in the loves of selfishness and greed. All people are born with an inclination towards evils, but they are not born "sinners" as is commonly believed by those who propound the doctrine of "original sin." Sin enters a person’s life when he or she becomes, through purposeful action, guilty of evil (Arcana Coelestia 7147), and so separated from the life of goodness and truth which is the basis of the Lord’s covenant.

In order for a sin to be a sin it must be done purposefully, or from intention, while knowing that it is opposed to the Lord’s teaching. We are told that “to sin is to do and think what is evil and false intentionally from the will, for such things which are done intentionally from the will are such as come forth out of the heart and defile man, consequently which destroy spiritual life with him” (Arcana Coelestia 8925).

Recognising sin in our lives, then, is recognition of the fact that we have turned aside from the Lord. We have broken covenant with Him, and can only be lead back into communion with Him through the process of repentance and reformation.

In a similar way "to commit iniquity" means to twist or distort the truth. There is a steady thread of this distortion running throughout Daniel, from Jehoiakim, king of Judah who represents a lust for evil and an aversion to truth (Apocalypse Explained 481:4), to the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and Chaldeans that Nebuchadnezzar called on to interpret his dreams. These represent the habitual thought processes we fall into to protect and enhance our selfish states. Whenever our minds are not directed by the conscience, our thoughts are dominated by the selfish will, with the result that we commit iniquity by thinking selfishly.

This kind of acknowledgement is the beginning of the formal process of repentance. As Daniel says in his prayer, "we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgements." In these words he captures the totality of human evil, both as to its motivation sin and the expressive thought. All sin, in one way or another, is a rebellion against God. As we have seen in earlier chapters Lucifer’s fall was occasioned by his rebellion.

Any general recognition of sin and iniquity of life, however, needs to be more than simply a general statement of evil. It does people no good to simply admit that of themselves they are sinners without specifying at least one sin. A person may know from the Word that he or she is a sinner, but unless that person actually searches out his or her evils, they remain as a source of spiritual infection (Charity 3). If we claim to be sinners without self-exploration, can cannot truly confess ourselves to be sinners (Arcana Coelestia 8390, The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 159) for our confession would have no basis in self-perception and would merely be a lip confession, which can be made even by evil men when the thought of hell-fire is present (True Christian Religion 517).

It follows then that Daniel highlights a specific example of how the Jews had sinned against God, which lead to their captivity in Babylon. He said, “Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land” (Daniel 9:6).

The sin of the ancient Jews was the ignoring of and disobedience to the prophets sent by the Lord to lead the people. King after king of Judea set up idols, worshipping them in place of the Lord, until finally the kingdom was overrun, the temple desecrated and destroyed, the people carried off into captivity or scattered. Jehoiakim, king of Judah at the time of the Babylonian captivity is a case in point. His father, Josiah, read the Word and restored the temple. He tore down idolatrous places of worship and re-instituted the Passover (2 Kings 23, 24). Jehoiakim, inheriting the throne at age twenty five, knowing full well the reforms of Josiah, and yet chose to reject these by "doing evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done” (2 Kings 23:37). In this way he ignored the Lord and disobeyed His teachings.

Much the same happens to us. When selfishness controls us it leads us to intentionally reject the teachings of the Word—even though we may pay lip-service to them. The result is a state of disobedience which can only be rectified through repentance. Each alternation of state, when we swing from goodness into evil is such an action. As Daniel says, we do not listen to the Lord’s prophets.

In the literal sense of the Word a prophet is one who preaches the truth, as did Elijah and Elisha, to name but two. However, in the internal sense a prophet represents the teaching itself, thus the doctrine from the Word (Arcana Coelestia 2534). As we have seen earlier, "kings" in the Word represent the ruling principles in our lives, and if these are false, then all our subsidiary thoughts, the "princes" will also be false.

The nature of sin and iniquity, then, is to allow the ruling principles in our minds, our "kings," and our thoughts derived from these, our "princes" to fall into falsity by ignoring the teachings of the Word. When a person can see this tendency within themselves, they are well on the way to truly confessing their sins to the Lord, not as an abstract state of life, but specific incidents of disobedience.

Part of this process of recognition and confession of sins is an observance of the consequences of one’s sins. Remember that Daniel is writing this prayer partly in response to the captivity of Judah—a captivity resulting from the neglect on the part of at least the king of Judah to obey the Word of the Lord. This captivity describes our states when we are held captive by the evils and falsities arising in selfishness. Daniel could clearly see that the historical captivity resulted from the disobedience of the kings of Judah. Can we see that our evils and their consequences are a result of our disobedience to the Lord? Can we come to the point at which we acknowledge our guilt to the Lord in Daniel’s words?

“Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against you.”—Such a cry to the Lord would be cold and sterile if there was not hope of redemption. The historical story of Daniel shows us, however, that there is always hope. The recurring theme is that the Lord is always with us, even in the darkest times to bring the light of knowledge and a renewed commitment to change. In times of repentance this is perhaps more important than at any other time, for when we repent we undertake to change based on our recognition of the states of evil and falsity within us. At those times we need to remember that the Lord does not bear grudges, and that the very force of His Divine Providence is leading us towards heaven.

The measure of the Lord’s mercy is highlighted in the concept that when one sins, one sins against the Lord Himself (Psalm 51:4). Daniel recognises that by not listening to the teaching of the prophets the Jews had "not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God." This is a further development in the recognition of sin in oneself. To reject and be disobedient to the teaching or doctrine of the Word is one thing, for the Word is open to many interpretations, it can be twisted this way and that to suit people’s will. The real damage to the Word comes, however, through the motive for the twisting. As we have seen in many places in Daniel, when the Word is twisted to underpin and protect selfish loves, then one does damage to the Lord Himself, for He is the Word itself. As Daniel points out, the prophets are "His servants," as teaching is a servant of truth itself.

The result is the disjunction of sin, a breaking of the covenant and separation from all the goodness and truth which originates in the Lord, and which is described in the book of Deuteronomy as a curse. There are too many curses to list, but they all indicate various states of evil which befall those who separate themselves from the Lord.

In Daniel the woes of captivity are indicated as being curses from the Lord on the Jews for disobeying the Lord, and it is easy to be sympathetic to this view. Evil, especially selfishness causes life to unravel, if not in this world, then certainly in the next. Relationships based on selfishness will never be happy, conflict dogs those whose only concern is themselves. This unhappiness and conflict may seem to be a curse or disaster sent by the Lord to punish the evil doer, yet it is a great truth that the Lord never punishes anyone for their evils (Arcana Coelestia 696, 697, 1857).

For a person who is in the process of repentance this is both a necessary and comforting thought, for if the Lord cast us into hell because of our sins, all hope would be lost and life would lose its point. We need to know that regardless of how dreadful our evils may seem, and how willingly we allow ourselves to be drawn into them, still the Lord is, as Daniel says "righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice."

It is important in order to keep a state of balance in repentance to remember the times the Lord has helped us in our captivity to selfishness. In his prayer Daniel remembers back to the liberation from Egypt. If we take the historical series of the book of Daniel as our guide, we can see the Lord’s hand in the way He patiently and continually led Nebuchadnezzar through terrible times to the eventual point where the king could praise the Lord as his God. Each detail of that journey is reflected in our progressive liberation from selfishness and all its attendant states. Finally as our inner motivations change, we can be lead to the state depicted in the reign of Darius when Daniel is given charge over the land.

Providence can never be seen in advance, only in hindsight (Divine Providence 178, 187). In the throes of temptation and repentance is seems as if the Lord has abandoned us, yet He is always there to show us the way to a new state of life.

VERSES 20-27
The wonder of prayer lies in the answers. Sometimes people are not certain whether the Lord listens to prayer, and whether prayer can ever change the Lord’s mind about something. This is not, or at least should not be the reason we pray. Prayer is for our benefit, for it focuses our minds upon the Lord and opens up the interiors of our minds making it possible for us to receive His presence. The answers to prayers are seldom given in loud or dramatic ways. More often than not the answer lies in a small quiet awareness of the Lord’s presence. As we are told in the doctrines, the answer comes as “…something like a revelation (which is manifested in the affection of him that prays) as to hope, consolation, or a certain inward joy” (Arcana Coelestia 2535).

Daniel prayed to the Lord for the salvation of Israel, captive in Babylon for seventy years. He prayed with deep humility, with an awareness of the evils of the Jews, and a willingness to confront those evils. The Lord answered his prayer.

When we are in the process of repenting, we too need to pray to the Lord in confession and in prayer for forgiveness and mercy. The fact of saying those prayers is powerful, for in confessing our sins to the Lord we acknowledge from humility of heart that the evils of our lives are not defensible. The action of prayer is, in many ways, the opposite and therefore the antidote to the rule of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar in our minds. While they are present we justify our evils, we permit and actively make possible states opposed to the presence of the Lord. But in confession this changes, and our minds are opened.

Supplication, or prayer for mercy does much the same thing. In our Babylonian states we are self-sufficient—we don’t need the Lord or His Word. Our minds are dominated across the axes of our will and understanding just as the he-goat in chapter eight extended the power of his horns to the four winds of the earth. By opening our minds in prayer, however, we acknowledge that this selfish power is not real power. Real power belongs to the Lord who can and will forgive us, and in so doing gives us the power to override selfishness and break its hold over us.

While Daniel prayed, he became aware of the answer from the Lord. The imagery in his words show us a great deal about how the Lord answers prayers from the heart. As he prayed he became aware of "the man Gabriel" who flew swiftly and reached him at the time of the evening offering.

In Chapter Eight we learned that Gabriel was in reality an entire society of angels (Apocalypse Explained 302). Gabriel represents the Divine truth itself drawing near to human conscience (Arcana Coelestia 8192). This is the first part of the Lord’s answer to our prayers. When we pray we ask the Lord to hear us. The essence of prayer in Daniel’s words are summed up in verse nineteen: “O Lord hear! O Lord forgive! O Lord listen and act!”

The Lord listens with His Divine truth, and answers with truth, represented by Gabriel flying down to Daniel, reaching him at "about the time of the evening offering." As we have seen many times in this study, "evening" is a state of obscurity caused by the presence of selfishness blocking out charity and thus faith. When we repent and pray to the Lord we are still in that state of obscurity, and yet part of the answer of prayer is to lift the darkness and give us insight into the nature of our lives and a clearer vision of how to overcome our evils. This is why Gabriel came in the evening, but notice his words to Daniel “Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.”

The answer to prayers is given as "hope, consolation, or a certain inward joy” (Arcana Coelestia 2535). These spiritual gifts come from the Lord’s love for all humanity, but love is always communicated by means of wisdom. In other words we cannot have a feeling of hope unless we have thoughts of hope. We will not experience consolation unless we know that things will turn out for the better. Without the thought process, faith if you will, there can be no inward joy, for joy, or any emotion cannot exist in a vacuum separated from the thought processes.

The Lord’s answer to Daniel’s, and our, prayers is by lightening the darkness in our minds. Gabriel came to bring "skill to understand," with us that is the skill to see the evils of life clearly. It means breaking away from the persuasive power of the astrologers, magicians, soothsayers and Chaldeans who held such power over Nebuchadnezzar. In the historical series we were shown how they failed the king whose questions could only be satisfied by Daniel, our conscience.

So it is with us. In the process of repentance our conscience leads us to see our sins and urges us to confess them to the Lord. As we do so, the Lord enlightens our minds. This makes it possible for us to see several things from His perspective, firstly the enormity of our sins, secondly the possibility of rejecting them and being forgiven, and thirdly real hope that we will be freed from them. All this takes "skill to understand," and an increasingly clear sight of the Divine truth.

Gabriel then begins to explain to Daniel. He goes back to the very point at which Daniel began his prayer of repentance—the seventy years of captivity in Babylon, saying “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24).

As we saw at the beginning of this chapter "seventy weeks" means the time of fullness from beginning to end of the Babylonian captivity (Apocalypse Explained 684). This period represents the steady breakdown of selfishness in our lives. When we are in states of selfishness we are held captive by the "Babylonians" within, yet with the rise of conscience to power, that hold is gradually broken, and the process is described by Daniel’s steady rise to power. The promise given to us in the process of repentance, therefore, is that we will eventually be liberated during the course of "seventy weeks."

Daniel was told that the captivity of seventy weeks would be upon his people and the city of holiness. The "people" are those states in us which belong to the church (Apocalypse Explained 684), or, in other words, all the states of goodness and truth, of charity and faith which are oppressed and held in bondage by selfishness. When we are selfish it is impossible to be in states of true charity—we cannot love other people when we love ourselves more, nor can we think in terms of truth clearly when our thoughts are clouded by habitual self justification. In these states of spiritual captivity, our conscience is present, as Daniel was present throughout the entire Babylonian captivity, to lead us to a state of repentance when bondage can be broken.

The "city of holiness" with us relates to the thought process based on truths from the Word which lead us into revolt against selfishness (Apocalypse Explained 684). While we are in spiritual bondage our thoughts are dominated by selfishness, but the Lord provides certain truths from the Word which form the basis of our conscience. These truths are the "cities of holiness" for they are from the Lord and make it possible for the Lord to be present in our minds, even in our darkest hours. It also makes it possible for the conscience to develop to the point where it can enter into active opposition against selfishness.

The seventy weeks "determined for your people and your holy city" are the states of life we pass through as we journey through our captivity. A person cannot repent from selfishness until he or she sees the quality of self, and rejects it, just as Nebuchadnezzar had to be brought down to a point of madness before he could be completely restored, and as Belshazzar had to be weighed in the balances and found wanting before he could be killed. We too have to pass through that process, and allow it to run its course, for it is only when we are moved with horror at our evils, as Daniel was moved to feel physically sick at the sight of the he-goat, that we can be led into true repentance, and then the Lord can come to us in full glory.

Gabriel’s words all built up to this point. One has to finish the transgression, make and end of sins and a reconciliation of iniquity, and then the Most Holy is anointed. In the Lord’s own life this verse meant that He would eventually unite the Divine to the Human through to process of glorification (Apocalypse Explained 624, 684). He did this by continual victories over hell from His own power (Arcana Coelestia 2025).

We overcome hell by the power of the Lord, and when we do so, we come into the states of peace and tranquillity which typify heaven, and yet that can only happen in a state of total rejection of evil and falsity (This state of rejection is called "vastation," and without it the Lord cannot be fully received (Arcana Coelestia 728)).

Having explained this to Daniel, Gabriel continues: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times” (Daniel 9:25).

In history the ancient Jews were liberated from Babylon by king Cyrus. They returned home with the intention of rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple armed with the confidence that the cost of rebuilding was be born by the state. Even the vessels taken by Nebuchadnezzar would be restored to their rightful places. A tremendous inertia set in, however. Only the oldest of the captives could remember Jerusalem after seventy years, and many of the Jews were firmly established in Babylon. Historian John Bright writes that “the early years of the restoration venture proved bitterly disappointing, bringing little but frustration and discouragement (Bright 1972:361, 363, 364).

These early difficulties were mirrored in Gabriel’s words to Daniel, that from the giving of the command to the restoration of the temple to the coming of the Messiah shall be "seven weeks and sixty two weeks." The "going forth of the command" means the end of the time of preparation. Specifically in the analysis in the Apocalypse Explained we are told that these Word signify the end of the Old Testament because it was fulfilled by the coming of the Lord. The "restoration and building of Jerusalem" describes the renewal of the church by the Lord’s coming (Apocalypse Explained 684).

In the story of regeneration, these concepts can be seen to apply to the establishment of a new state within the human soul who has undergone the process of repentance and who is in process of fulfilling his or her potential of the development of new spiritual states. Thus the "going forth of the command" can be seen to be the process of repentance, which is the true beginning of regeneration, while the "building of the Jerusalem" is the final, regenerated state in which the ends of selfishness have been defeated and one returns to true worship of the Lord in every aspect of life.

As in earlier chapters Gabriel provides Daniel with a time frame for this development. This should not be thought of as natural time, however, but as the progression of state through which one passes between repentance and regeneration. Regeneration does not spring into being fully formed the moment a person decides to repent. It is a life-time process involving the gradual transition from a self-oriented life to a selfless life. To manage this one needs to undergo the rigours of temptation and the discipline of self compulsion.

The time given by Gabriel is familiar. The time between the order and the building of Jerusalem is seven weeks. Here we see the repetition of seven, and the meaning is the same—the full cycle of life, indicating once again that rebirth is an ongoing process.

More interesting, however, is the statement that "after sixty and two weeks it shall be restored and built." The term "sixty two" is only used in one other place in the Word, in Daniel chapter five, where we are told that Darius was sixty two years old when he killed Belshazzar. At that point we saw that sixty two represents a state in which faith is developing, but has not yet reached its fullness, for "sixty" describes the progress we make, while "two" indicates the incompleteness of that progress.

By pointing this out we are prepared to realise that whilst repentance is a major step forward in our spiritual lives, by itself it is not enough. If we persist, however, that repentance will develop into the states of reformation and finally regeneration, and the city Jerusalem will be built in our minds.

The angel says that in sixty two weeks the "street will be built again, and the wall." A "street" describes the truth of teaching from the Word (Apocalypse Explained 684). This is not simply an intellectual knowledge of what the Word teaches but an insight into the relevance of that truth to our lives. This truth is clearly related to the conscience which has been developing in the person throughout the course of his or her life, and which is now coming to fruition in leading the person to repentance.

The New King James version here describes the wall being build around the city, but in the original language the term is more properly translated as a trench, a moat or a ditch (Brown-Driver-Briggs Definition #2742. Swedenborg uses the term "fossa" which is translated "moat" or "drainage ditch"). In the internal sense a "moat" represents the doctrine or teaching which leads a person through life. The street and the moat are two sides of the same insightful concept of truth which the Lord gives to us as a result of repentance and prayer.

However, we should also know, as was mentioned above, that repentance initiates one into states of temptation. As soon as we begin to shun selfishness, there is a reassertion of the selfishness. The result is that we enter into the alternations of state described in Daniel’s visions in chapters seven and eight. These alternations are states of temptation as we struggle to be freed from the evil sides of our personalities, and remain connected to the good. The city, street and moat, therefore would be built in "troublesome times," meaning that our spiritual life is regained with difficulty.

There will even be times when "the Messiah will be cut off," a concept similar to the vision in chapter eight, when one feels that one’s spiritual progress, described by the ram, is scattered by the he-goat. The "Messiah shall be cut off" indicates states of relapse into selfishness (Apocalypse Explained 684), although within that selfishness there is still the hope that as long as our conscience survives, like Daniel in the citadel of Shushan, there will be enough power to turn the corner once again and repent.

This is the promise of repentance. When we turn to the Lord in prayer of confession and thanksgiving, we need to know that while things will ultimately be all right, still there is a hard road ahead. Nevertheless we are not alone. The Lord answered Daniel’s prayer with honesty, and He answers our prayers in the same way. The city will be rebuilt, but there is work to be done in the rebuilding of it. Nevertheless, at the time of repentance, we can experience the hope, consolation and inward joy in knowing that the Lord walked this path before us, and from His own power fought and defeated these same inner demons. He gives us the power to walk that path.

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Apocalypse Explained # 412

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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412. And hide us from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the anger of the Lamb, signifies lest they should suffer direful things from the influx of Divine good united to the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. This is evident from the signification of "hide us," when it is said by those in whom the goods and truths of the church are destroyed by evils of life and falsities therefrom, as being lest they should suffer direful things (of which presently); also from the signification of "from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne," as being the Lord in respect to Divine good in heaven; that "face," in reference to the Lord, means the Divine love, from which is Divine good in heaven, will be evident from the passages in the Word that will be cited presently; and that "He that sitteth upon the throne" means the Lord in respect to Divine good in heaven may be seen above (n. 297, 343). Also from the signification of "the anger of the Lamb," as being the casting into hell by the influx of Divine truth proceeding from the Lord.

That "the anger of Jehovah" or of the Lord signifies this, can be seen from passages in the Word to be cited in the following article. Moreover it may be seen above (n. 297, 343) that the Lord alone is meant by "Him that sitteth upon the throne," and by "the Lamb;" the Lord in respect to Divine good by "Him that sitteth upon the throne," and the Lord in respect to Divine truth by "the Lamb." The expression "the anger of the Lamb" does not mean that the Lord (who is meant by "Him that sitteth upon the throne" and by "the Lamb") is angry, for He is Divine good itself, and that cannot be angry, for anger has nothing to do with good itself; but it is so expressed in the sense of the letter of the Word, for reasons explained elsewhere; let it be merely shown here that "the face" of Jehovah, or of the Lord, signifies the Divine love, and thence Divine good in heaven and in the church; and in the contrary sense "to set His face against anyone," and "to hide or conceal His face," has a similar meaning as "wrath" and "anger;" also that "the face," in reference to man, means in both senses the interiors that belong to his mind and affection.

(Odkazy: Revelation 6:16; The Apocalypse Explained 297, The Apocalypse Explained 343)


[2] That "the face," in reference to Jehovah or the Lord, signifies the Divine love and the Divine good therefrom is evident from the following passages. In David:

Make Thy faces to shine upon Thy servant; save me because of Thy mercy (Psalms 31:16).

"To make the faces to shine" signifies to enlighten in Divine truth from Divine love; this is signified by "making the faces to shine," because Divine truth, which proceeds from the Lord as a sun in the angelic heaven, gives all the light there, and also enlightens the minds of the angels and fills them with wisdom; consequently the Lord's face, in a proper sense, is the sun of the angelic heaven; for the Lord appears to the angels of the interior heavens as a sun, and this from His Divine love, for love in the heavens when presented before the eyes appears as fire, but the Divine love as a sun. From that sun both heat and light proceed, that heat is Divine good, and that light is Divine truth. From this it can be seen that "Make Thy faces to shine upon Thy servant" signifies to enlighten with Divine truth from Divine good; therefore it is also added, "save me because of Thy mercy;" mercy is of the Divine good. (But of the sun in the angelic heaven, and the heat and light from it, see in the work on Heaven and Hell; of The Sun there, n. 116-125; and of The Heat and Light from it, n 126-140)

[3] In the same:

Many say, Who will show us good? Jehovah, lift up the light of Thy faces upon us (Psalms 4:6).

In the same:

They shall walk, O Jehovah, in the light of Thy faces (Psalms 89:15).

In the same:

Turn us back, O God, and cause Thy faces to shine, that we may be saved (Psalms 80:3, 7, 19).

And in the same:

God be merciful unto us and bless us, and cause His faces to shine upon Us (Psalms 67:1).

"The light of the faces" of Jehovah or of the Lord means Divine truth from Divine love (as above) and intelligence and wisdom therefrom, for both angels and men have all their intelligence and wisdom from Divine truth, or the Divine light in the heavens, therefore "make Thy faces to shine upon us," "lift up the light of Thy faces upon us," and "cause Thy faces to shine," in the above passages signify to enlighten in Divine truth, and to bestow intelligence and wisdom.

[4] The like is signified in the blessing of the sons of Israel in Moses:

Jehovah bless thee and keep thee; Jehovah make His faces to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; Jehovah lift up His faces upon thee and give thee peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

"To make the faces to shine and to be gracious" signifies to enlighten in Divine truth, and to bestow intelligence and wisdom; and "to lift up the faces and give peace" signifies to fill with Divine good and to bestow love. Both are necessary to make man wise, for everyone that is in the spiritual world is enlightened by the light that is from the Lord as a sun, and yet those only become intelligent and wise who are at the same time in love, because the good that is of love is what receives truth; for they are conjoined because they agree and love one another. Only such, therefore, as have love see the sun in heaven, the rest see merely the light. "To be gracious," which is said of making the faces to shine, is predicated in the Word of truth; and "peace," which is said of lifting up the faces, is predicated of good.

[5] Since the Lord's Divine love is seen as a sun in heaven, from which is the light there, so:

When the Lord was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became as the light (Matthew 17:2).

Also when He was seen by John:

His face did shine as the sun in his power (Revelation 1:16).

"The garments which became as the light" signify Divine truth, for "garments" in the Word signify truth, and this because all angels are clothed by the Lord according to their reception of Divine truth; and their garments are moreover from the light of heaven, and are shining and brilliant therefrom, and the light of heaven, as was said, is Divine truth. This makes clear why the Lord's garments when He was transfigured "became as the light." (But on these things more may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell 177-182; also above, n. 64, 195, 271, 395.)

(Odkazy: The Apocalypse Explained 64, The Apocalypse Explained 195, The Apocalypse Explained 271, The Apocalypse Explained 395)


[6] In Matthew:

Jesus said of the child whom He had placed in the midst of the disciples, See that ye despise not one of these little ones; I say unto you, that their angels in the heavens do always behold the face of My Father who is in the heavens (Matthew 18:10).

It is said "their angels behold," because with every man there are spirits and angels, and the spirits and angels are such as the man is. With infant children there are angels from the inmost heaven; these see the Lord as a sun, for they are in love to Him and in innocence; this is meant in the nearest sense by "their angels behold the face of My Father;" "the face of the Father" meaning the Divine love which was in the Lord, consequently the essential Divine which is Jehovah; for the Father was in Him, and He in the Father, and they were one, as He Himself teaches. But these same words in the purely spiritual sense signify that the Lord in respect to His Divine good is in the good of innocence, for this is signified by "infant child" in the spiritual sense, and "the face of the Father" signifies the Lord's Divine good. Of "the servants of the Lord," by whom are meant those who are in Divine truths because they are in the good of love and charity, the same is said in Revelation:

The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in the New Jerusalem; and His servants shall do Him service; and they shall see His face 1 (Revelation 22:3-4).

But on this see the explanation in the following.

[7] In Isaiah:

In all their distress He was distressed, and the angel of His faces saved them; because of His love and His pity He redeemed them; and He carried them and lifted them up all the days of eternity (Isaiah 63:9).

This treats of the Lord, who is called "the angel of the faces" of Jehovah from Divine truth which is from His Divine love; for "angel" in the Word signifies Divine truth; this is why the angels are called "gods" (see above, n. 130, 200, 302); and "the faces of Jehovah" mean the Divine love which is in the Lord, therefore it is also said, "because of His love and His pity He redeemed them; and He carried them and lifted them up all the days of eternity;" all this is of the Divine love. The Lord in respect to His Human was Divine truth, and from this He combated with the hells, and by it subjugated them; for this reason He is called "an angel," that is, in respect to His Divine Human. This chapter evidently treats of the Lord, and of His combats with the hells and of their subjugation.

(Odkazy: The Apocalypse Explained 130, The Apocalypse Explained 200, The Apocalypse Explained 302)


[8] In David:

Thou hidest them 2 in the hiding place of Thy faces from the elations of man; Thou concealest them in Thy covert from the strife of tongues (Psalms 31:20).

"To hide them in the hiding place of Thy faces" means in the Divine good that does not appear before others; and "to conceal in Thy covert" means in the Divine truth; "the elations of man" and "the strife of tongues" mean the evils of falsity and the falsities of evil; for "elations" are predicated of evils because they are of self-love, and "man" signifies truth and falsity; "the strife of tongues" means the falsity of evil. (What the evil of falsity and the falsity of evil are, see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 21.)

[9] In the same:

Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, and our hidden things in the light of Thy faces (Psalms 90:8).

"The light of Thy faces" means the light of heaven from the Lord as the sun there. Because this light is Divine truth itself, from which is all intelligence and wisdom, whatever comes into this light has its quality exhibited as in clear day; for this reason when the evil come into this light they appear just as they are, deformed and monstrous according to the evils concealed with them. This makes clear what is meant by "Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, and our hidden things in the light of Thy faces."

[10] In Jeremiah:

Proclaim these words towards the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel; I will not cause My faces to fall upon you, for I am merciful (Jeremiah 3:12).

Here, too, "My faces" signify the Divine love, and every good that is of love; and "not causing the faces to fall" signifies not to let it be lowered or cease, for when the countenance falls then it ceases to look, which makes clear what is signified by "I will not cause My faces to fall upon you," so it is also said, "for I am merciful," mercy being the Divine love towards the miserable. "Proclaim towards the north" signifies towards those who are in falsities and in evils therefrom; so it is also said, "Return, thou backsliding Israel." "The north" signifies such, because those who are in falsities and in evils therefrom dwell in the northern quarter in the spiritual world. (Of falsities and the evils therefrom, see in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 21.) The bread upon the table in the tabernacle was called "the bread of faces," and the table itself "the table of faces" (Exodus 25:30; Numbers 4:7), because "the bread" there, the same as "the faces of Jehovah" signified the Divine good of the Divine love (see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 212-213, 218).

(Odkazy: Jeremiah 3:9)


[11] Because "the faces of Jehovah," or of the Lord, signify the Divine good united to Divine truth going out and proceeding from His Divine love, therefore also "the faces of Jehovah" signify the interiors of the church, of the Word, and of worship, for Divine good is in the interior of these; the exteriors of the church, of the Word, and of worship are only the effects and works therefrom. The interiors of the church, of the Word, and of worship are signified by "seeing," "seeking," and "entreating the faces of Jehovah." In Isaiah:

What is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? when ye shall come to see the faces of Jehovah? (Isaiah 1:11-12)

In Zechariah:

The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, In going let us go to entreat the faces of Jehovah, and to seek Jehovah of Hosts; thus many peoples and numerous nations shall come to seek Jehovah of Hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the faces of Jehovah (Zechariah 8:21-22).

In David:

My heart said unto thee, Seek ye my faces; Thy faces, O Jehovah, I do seek (Psalms 27:8).

We will make a joyful noise unto the Rock of our salvation; we will come before His faces with confession (Psalms 95:1, 2).

In Malachi:

Entreat the faces of God that He may be gracious unto us (Malachi 1:9).

In David:

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God; when shall I come to appear before the faces of God? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet confess to Him; His faces are salvations (Psalms 42:2, 5).

In these passages, "faces of Jehovah," "of God," or "of the Lord," mean the interiors of the church, of the Word, and of worship, because Divine good and Divine truth, thus the Lord Himself, are in these interiors, and from them in externals; but are not in externals, namely, of the church, of the Word, and of worship apart from these.

(Odkazy: Psalms 95:1-2)


[12] As it was the duty of all who went to Jerusalem to the feasts to carry with them such things as pertained to worship, and all worship is from the interiors which are of the heart and faith, and these interiors are signified by the gifts offered to the Lord, so it was commanded that everyone should offer some gift, which is meant by:

They shall not see My faces empty (Exodus 23:15).

The interiors of the church, of the Word, and of worship, are also signified by these words in Moses:

Jehovah spoke unto Moses, My faces shall go until I shall give thee rest. Then Moses said, If Thy faces go not make us not go up hence (Exodus 33:14-15).

This was said to Moses, because with that nation the Word was to be written, and also in the historical parts of the Word that nation was to be treated of, for with that nation a church was to be instituted which would be a representative church consisting of external things that corresponded to things internal; on this account it was said, "My faces shall go." (Respecting this see further in Arcana Coelestia 10567-10568, where it is explained.)

[13] But because that nation was only in the externals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, and not at all in the internals, therefore it was not granted to Moses to see the Lord's face, but only His back, according to these words in Moses:

Moses said, I pray Thee show me Thy glory; to whom He said, I will make all My good to pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of Jehovah before thee; thou canst not see My faces, for man shall not see Me and live. I will put thee in a hole of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand until I shall have passed by; and when I shall take away My hand thou shalt see My hinder parts, but My faces shall not be seen (Exodus 33:18-23).

Here Moses represented that nation, what was its quality in respect to the understanding of the Word, and thence in respect to the church and worship, namely, that it was in externals only without internals. These externals were represented and signified by "the hinder parts" of Jehovah which were seen by Moses, and the internals by the front parts and "the face." That the internals that are in the externals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, were not seen and could not be seen by that nation, was represented and signified by Moses being placed in the hole of a rock, and by his being covered with the hand of Jehovah while He passed by. (But this has been more fully explained in Arcana Coelestia 10573-10584.)

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 10573)


[14] Furthermore, since "the faces of Jehovah" or the Lord mean the internals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, they mean especially the externals in which are internals; since internals make themselves to be seen in externals, as the internals of man do in his face and features. But the Jewish nation was such that it looked to externals only, and to internals not at all; and to look at externals and not at the same time at internals, or at externals without internals, is like looking at the image of a man that is without life; but to look at externals and at the same time at internals, or at externals from internals, is like looking at a living man; this therefore is, in the proper sense, "to see the face of Jehovah," or "to entreat His faces," in the passages cited above.

[15] Since the internals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, appear in the externals, or present themselves to be seen in externals, comparatively as the internals of man do in the face, it is evident what is signified in the internal sense by "seeing Jehovah" or the Lord "face to face," in the following passages. In Moses:

I have seen God face to face, and yet my soul is delivered (Genesis 32:30).

Jacob said this after he had wrestled with God, who appeared to him as an angel. In the book of Judges:

Gideon said, I have seen the angel of Jehovah face to face. And Jehovah said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not, thou shalt not die (Judges 6:22-23).

So, too, with Manoah and his wife (Judges 13:21-23).

And respecting the Israelitish people:

Jehovah spoke with you face to face from the mount, out of the midst of the fire (Deuteronomy 5:4).

Respecting which it is further said:

Jehovah hath made [us] to see His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire; we have seen this day that God doth talk to man and he remaineth alive (Deuteronomy 5:24).

And respecting Moses:

Jehovah spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his companion (Exodus 33:11; Deuteronomy 34:10).

(Odkazy: Exodus 34:10-12, 34:10; Judges 13:22-23)


[16] But it should be known that no man, nor even any angel, can see the Lord's face, since it is Divine love, and no one can sustain the Divine love such as it is in itself; for to see the Lord's face would be like letting the eye into the very fire of the sun, whence it would instantly perish. Such also is the Lord's Divine love viewed in itself; therefore to those in the interior heavens the Lord appears as a sun, and that sun is encompassed by many radiant circles, which are envelopments one after another, in order that the Divine love may proceed to the angels in heaven tempered and moderated, and thus the angels may sustain it; the Lord therefore appears as a sun to the angels of the higher heavens only, while to the angels of the lower heavens He appears merely as light, and to the rest as a moon. Nevertheless, in heaven the Lord appears to the angels, but under an angelic form; for He fills an angel with His aspect, and thus with His presence from afar, and this He does in various places, but everywhere in accommodation to the good of love and of faith with those to whom He appears. Thus the Lord was seen by Gideon, and by Manoah and his wife, also by Moses, and the Israelitish people. This, therefore, is what is meant by "seeing Jehovah face to face," and by "seeing Jehovah and not dying." It is clearly evident that the face itself in respect to the interiors which are of His Divine love was not seen, for it was said to Moses:

That no one can see Jehovah's face and live (Exodus 33:20).

Yet it is said that "they saw Jehovah face to face;" which shows clearly that "seeing the faces of Jehovah" in the passages cited above signifies seeing Him in the interiors of the Word, of the church, and of worship, which nevertheless is seeing Him in externals from internals. That the Jewish nation was in the externals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, apart from internals, may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 248); what the external is apart from the internal, and what the external is in which is the internal, see n. 47).

[17] That the Jewish nation was such, was also represented and signified by:

Their covering the Lord's face, striking it, and spitting in it (Matthew 26:67; Mark 14:65; Luke 22:64);

for all things related in the Word respecting the Lord's passion represent and signify arcana of heaven and the church, and in particular the quality of the Jews in respect to the Word, the church, and worship. (That this is so, see above, n. 64, 83, 195 c.)

(Odkazy: The Apocalypse Explained 64, The Apocalypse Explained 83, The Apocalypse Explained 195)


[18] It can be known from what has been thus far explained, what "the face" of Jehovah or the Lord signifies, namely, the Divine love, and all good in heaven and in the church therefrom; and from this it can be known what is signified by "hiding" or "concealing the faces," in reference to Jehovah or the Lord, namely, that it is to leave man in what is his own [proprium] and thus in the evils and falsities that spring forth from what is his own [proprium]; for man viewed in himself is nothing but evil and falsity therefrom, and that he may be in good he is withheld from these by the Lord, which is effected by being elevated out of what is his own [proprium]. From this it can be seen that "hiding and concealing the faces," in reference to the Lord, signifies to leave in evils and falsities; as in the following passages. In Jeremiah:

For all their evil I have covered My faces from this city (Jeremiah 33:5).

In Isaiah:

Your sins have hid God's faces from you, that He hath not heard (Isaiah 59:2).

In Ezekiel:

My faces will I turn away from them, that they may profane My secret, and that the violent may enter into it and profane it (Ezekiel 7:22).

The nations shall know that for their iniquity the sons of Israel were carried away; and therefore will I hide My faces from them (Ezekiel 39:23).

In Lamentations:

The face of Jehovah hath divided them; He will no more regard them (Lamentations 4:16).

In Micah:

Jehovah will hide His faces from them, even as they have made their works evil (Micah 3:4).

In David:

Thou didst hide Thy faces, I was troubled (Psalms 30:7).

Wherefore hidest Thou Thy faces, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression? (Psalms 44:24).

Thou hidest Thy faces, they are affrighted; Thou gatherest in their spirit, they expire, and return to their dust (Psalms 104:29).

In Moses:

My anger shall glow against the people in that day, and I will forsake them, and will hide My faces from them. In hiding I will hide My faces in that day because of all the evil which they have done (Deuteronomy 31:17-18).

I will hide My faces from them; they are a generation of perversions (Deuteronomy 32:20).

In Isaiah:

I will tarry for Jehovah, although He hideth His faces from the house of Jacob (Isaiah 8:17).

In David:

How long wilt Thou forget me, O Jehovah? how long wilt Thou hide Thy faces from me? (Psalms 13:1).

Hide not Thy faces from me; put not Thy servant away in anger (Psalms 27:9).

Hide not Thy faces from Thy servant, for I am in distress; hasten, answer me (Psalms 69:17).

O Jehovah why casteth Thou off my soul? Why hidest Thou Thy faces from me? (Psalms 88:14).

Hide not Thy faces from me in the day of my distress (Psalms 102:2).

Answer me, O Jehovah; hide not Thy faces from me, lest I become like them that go down into the pit (Psalms 143:7).

In Ezekiel:

When I shall have brought together the sons of Israel upon their own ground, then will I not hide My faces any more from them, for I will pour out My spirit upon the sons of Israel (Ezekiel 39:28-29).

In David:

He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of Israel; neither hath He hid His faces from him; but when he cried aloud unto Him He heard (Psalms 22:24).

(Odkazy: Psalms 27:8-9, Psalms 102:1-2)


[19] In these passages it is said that Jehovah, that is, the Lord, conceals and hides His faces on account of iniquities and sins, and He is entreated not to conceal or hide them, and yet He never conceals or hides, that is, His Divine good and His Divine truth; for the Lord is Divine love itself and mercy itself, and desires the salvation of all; therefore He is present with all and with each one, even with those who are in iniquities and sins, and by this presence He gives them the freedom to receive Him, that is, truth and good from Him, consequently they also do receive if from freedom they desire to. Reception must be from freedom, in order that goods and truths may abide with man, and be with him as his own; for what a man does from freedom he does from affection, for all freedom is of affection, and affection is man's will; therefore what is received in freedom, or from man's affection, enters his will and endures. It then endures because the will is the man himself and in the will his life primarily resides, but secondarily in the thought or the understanding. This therefore is why man ought to receive Divine good and Divine truth, with which the Lord is always present.

[20] This is what is meant by:

Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him (Revelation 3:20).

But when man from freedom chooses evil he shuts the door to himself, and thus does not let in the good and truth that are from the Lord; consequently the Lord then appears to be absent. It is from this appearance that it is said that Jehovah conceals and hides His faces, although He does not conceal and hide. Moreover man as to his spirit then turns away from the Lord, and consequently does not perceive the good or see the truth, which are from the Lord; this is why it appears as if the Lord did not see him; and yet the Lord sees each and every thing pertaining to man. It is from this appearance also that the Lord is said to conceal and hide His faces, and also is said to set [ponere et dare] His faces against them, also that He regards them with the back of the neck and not with the faces, as in the following passages. In Jeremiah:

I have set My faces against this city for evil, and not for good (Jeremiah 21:10).

In the same:

I set My faces against you for evil, to cut off all Judah (Jeremiah 44:11).

In Ezekiel:

I will set My faces against that man, and I will lay him waste, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people (Ezekiel 14:8).

In the same:

I will set My faces against them; let them go forth from the fire and the fire shall devour them, when I shall have set My faces against them (Ezekiel 15:7).

In Moses:

He that shall eat any blood, I will set My faces against that soul, and I will cut him off (Leviticus 17:10).

In Jeremiah:

As the east wind will I scatter them before the enemy; with the back of the neck, and not with the face, will I regard them (Jeremiah 18:17).

That it is man who sets his face against the Lord and who turns himself away from the Lord, whence evil comes to him, is evident also from the Word. As in Jeremiah:

They have turned unto Me the back of the neck, and not the faces (Jeremiah 32:33).

In the same:

They have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return (Jeremiah 5:3).

In the same:

They have gone away in their own counsels, in the hardening of their evil heart, and they have become turned backwards and not forwards (Jeremiah 7:24).

And in Isaiah:

Your sins have hid God's faces from you (Isaiah 59:2).

(Odkazy: Ezekiel 14:7-8)


[21] That the evil turn away their face from the Lord does not mean that they do it with the face of the body, but with the face of their spirit. Man can turn his face whatever way he pleases, since he is in a state of freedom to turn himself either towards heaven or towards hell, and moreover a man's face is taught to deceive for the sake of the appearance before the world; but when man becomes a spirit, which he does immediately after death, then he who had lived in evils turns the face altogether away from the Lord (as can be seen from what has been said and shown in the work on Heaven and Hell 17, 123, 142, 144-145, 151, 153, 251, 272 , 511, 552, 561). This is what is meant by "they have turned unto Me the back of the neck, and not the face," and "they have become turned backwards and not forwards." And because such then come into the evil of punishment and hell, those who have turned themselves away suppose that this is from the Lord, and that He regards them with a stern countenance, and casts them down into hell, and punishes them just as an angry man would do, when yet the Lord regards no one in any other way than from love and mercy. It is from that appearance that these things are said in the Word. In Isaiah:

When Thou shalt do fearful things that we look not for, the mountains shall flow down before Thee (Isaiah 64:3).

In David:

It is burned with fire, it is cut down; they have perished at the rebuke of Thy faces (Psalms 80:16).

In the same:

The faces of Jehovah are against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth (Psalms 34:16).

In Moses:

Behold I send an angel before thee. Take ye heed of his faces; for he will not bear your transgression (Exodus 23:20-21).

In Ezekiel:

I will lead you into the wilderness of the peoples, and I will have judgment with you face to face (Ezekiel 20:35).

In Moses:

When the ark set forward, Moses said, Arise O Jehovah, let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thy faces (Numbers 10:35).

In Revelation:

I saw a throne high and great, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away (Revelation 20:11).

(Odkazy: Psalms 80:17)


[22] These things are said respecting the signification of the face in reference to Jehovah or the Lord. The face in reference to man signifies his disposition and affection, and consequently the interiors which belong to his mind, and this because the disposition and affections, or the interiors that belong to man's mind, present themselves to be seen in the face; this is why the face is said to be an index of the mind; the face also is an effigy of the interiors of man, for it represents them, and his countenance corresponds to them. That "faces" in reference to man signify affections of various kinds, can be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:

They say, Turn aside out of the way, decline out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from our faces (Isaiah 30:11).

"Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from our faces" signifies to cause the Lord to cease from the thought and affection, thus everything of the church, "the Holy one of Israel" meaning the Lord; to withdraw from the truth and good of the church, which is from the Lord and in which is the Lord, is signified by "Turn aside out of the way, decline out of the path," "way" and "path" meaning the truth and good of the church.

[23] In Lamentations:

They have not accepted the faces of the priests, and they were not gracious unto the faces of the old (Lamentations 4:16).

Again:

Princes were hanged up by their hand; the faces of the old were not honored (Lamentations 5:12).

"Not to accept the faces of the priests" signifies to value as nothing the goods of the church, which are of love and faith; for "the priests" represented the Lord in respect to Divine good, and thus signified the good of the church, and "faces" signify all things thereof that have reference to love and faith. "Not to honor the faces of the old" signifies to account as nothing all things of wisdom, "the old" signifying wisdom, and "faces" all things thereof, because they signify interior things; "the princes hanged up by their hand" signify that all intelligence was rejected, "princes" meaning the primary truths from which there is intelligence.

[24] In Moses:

Jacob said respecting Esau, I will appease his faces with the present that goeth before me, and afterwards I will see his faces; peradventure he will accept my faces (Genesis 32:19-20).

"To appease his faces," signifies to captivate his mind; "afterwards to see his faces" signifies to know what the disposition is; "peradventure he will accept my faces" signifies, peradventure he will receive me with a kindly disposition; "to accept the faces" meaning to have good will towards anyone from affection. In the same:

Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shall not regard faces, neither take a gift (Deuteronomy 16:19).

"Not to regard faces" signifies not to have the mind better disposed towards superiors, the rich, and friends, than towards inferiors, the poor, and enemies, because what is just and right is to be regarded without respect to person.

(Odkazy: Genesis 32:20)


[25] In Malachi:

I have made you contemptible and lowly unto all the people, according as ye keep not My ways, and accept faces in the law (Malachi 2:9).

"Accepting faces in the law" has a similar signification as "regarding faces in judgment," quoted above, namely, to have the mind better disposed towards, and to show more favor to superiors, the rich, and friends, than to inferiors, the poor, and enemies. In Isaiah:

What mean ye? Ye crush the people, and grind the faces of the poor (Isaiah 3:15).

"To grind the faces of the poor" signifies to destroy the affections of knowing truths with those who are in ignorance of truth and yet wish to be instructed; "to grind" signifying to destroy, "faces" signifying the affections of knowing truths, and "the poor" those who are in ignorance of truth but wish to be instructed, for these are the spiritually poor.

[26] In David:

The daughter of Tyre shall bring an offering; the rich of the people shall entreat thy faces. The king's daughter is all glorious within; her vesture is inwrought with gold (Psalms 45:12-13).

"The king's daughter" signifies the spiritual affection of truth; "the daughter of Tyre" signifies the affection of the knowledges of truth and good; to be enriched with these is signified by "bringing an offering;" "the rich of the people" signify the intelligent, and in an abstract sense, the understanding of truth and good; to be gifted with these is signified by "entreating his faces;" for all things of intelligence dwell in the spiritual affection of truth, which therefore is signified by his "faces." (The rest may be seen explained above, n. 195

(Odkazy: The Apocalypse Explained 195)


[27] In the same:

Yet do I confess 3 Him, the salvations of my faces, my God (Psalms 42:11; 43:5).

"The salvations of my faces" signify all things that are within, thus those that are of the mind and the affections, accordingly those that are of love and faith; because these are what save they are called "salvations." Evil affections, which are lusts, are expressed by the same term, "faces," because they appear in the face, for the face is the external or natural form of the interiors, which are of the disposition and mind; and in the spiritual world these make one, for there it is not permitted to put on other faces than those that are from the affections, thus that correspond to the interiors which are of their mind. This is why the angels of heaven are radiant and lovely in face, while infernal spirits are dusky and misshapen in face.

[28] This, too is evidently the meaning of "faces" in the following passages. In Isaiah:

Throes and pangs seize them, they travail like a woman bringing forth; they are amazed every man at his companion; their faces are faces of flames (Isaiah 13:8).

This treats of the Last Judgment, when the evil are let into their interiors. The interiors of those who are in the love of self and the world, and thence in hatreds and revenges, are meant by "their faces are faces of flames;" and such also do they appear. Their torments from the influx of Divine good and Divine truth are signified by "throes and pangs seize them, they are in travail like a woman bringing forth." Their torments are likened to the throes and pangs of women bringing forth for the same reason that the comparison is used in Genesis 3:16; for evils and falsities are then conjoined; and when this is the case "pangs seize" when Divine good and truth flow in.

[29] In Ezekiel:

Say to the forest of the south, The flame of the grievous flame shall not be quenched, wherefore all faces from the south even to the north shall be burned therein (Ezekiel 20:47).

"The forest of the south" means falsity within the church, consequently those there who are in falsities; the church is signified by "the south" because it can be in the light of truth from the Word; and falsity from evil is signified by "forest;" the vastation and destruction of the church by the love of falsity from evil is signified by "the flame of the grievous flame, by which all faces shall be burned;" "all faces" meaning all the interiors of the men of the church in respect to the affections of truth and good, and the thoughts therefrom; "from the south even to the north" signifies all things of the church from first to last, or interior and exterior; "the south" meaning the interior or first things of the church, and "the north" the exterior or last things of the church; this is the signification of "the south" and "the north" because those who are in the light of truth from the Lord are in the southern quarter in the spiritual world; while in the hells under them are those who are in natural lumen by means of which they have confirmed themselves in falsities; and in the northern quarter are those who are in obscurity of truth from the Lord, and in the hells under them are those who are in falsities, but not in any natural lumen whereby they have confirmed their falsities.

[30] In Joel:

Before him the peoples tremble; all faces have gathered blackness (Joel 2:6).

This treats of evils and falsities devastating the church, and of the judgment upon those who are in them; those who are in falsities are signified by "the peoples who tremble;" their interiors which are in the falsities of evil are signified by "the faces that have gathered blackness;" "faces" meaning the interiors, and "blackness" the falsity of evil. The infernals who are in falsities from evil appear black in the light of heaven.

[31] In Daniel:

In the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king hard in faces shall rise up (Daniel 8:23).

This was said of the four horns of the he-goat, by which are there meant four kingdoms, but "kingdoms" there do not mean kingdoms but the states of the church, for "a he-goat of the goats" means faith separated from charity, which is called faith alone; "the latter end of their kingdom" signifies the end of the church, when there is no faith because there is no charity; "when the transgressors are come to the full" signifies when there are no longer truth and good, but evil and falsity; these words signify the like as "when iniquity is consummated and fulfilled" (respecting which see above, n. 397). "A king hard in faces" signifies no truth but only falsity in their interiors; "king" signifying truth, and in the contrary sense falsity; "faces" the interiors, and "hard in faces" the interiors without good; for where there is no good, truth is hard, while truth from good is mild, because living; and truth without good even becomes falsity in their interiors or thought, since they do not think about it spiritually but materially, because they think from things corporeal and worldly, and thus from the fallacies of the senses.

(Odkazy: The Apocalypse Explained 397)


[32] In Ezekiel:

Sons hard in their faces, and hardened in heart (Ezekiel 2:4).

"Sons hard in their faces" signify those who are in truths without good, and in an abstract sense truths without good, which in themselves are falsities (as has been said above); and "hardened in heart" signifies those who do not admit good, and who are therefore in evil, for where good cannot enter evil enters; "the heart" signifies also in the Word the good of love, and "a hardened heart" signifies the same as "a stony heart," namely, where the good of love is not admitted; but "a heart of flesh" signifies where it is admitted.

[33] In Isaiah:

Their tongue and their doings are against Jehovah, to rebel against the eyes of His glory; the hardness of their faces answereth against them (Isaiah 3:8-9).

"Their tongue and their doings which are against Jehovah" signify thought and affection; "the tongue" thought, because the tongue utters what man thinks, and "doings" affection, because man does what is of his affection; these "are against Jehovah, and rebel against the eyes of His glory" when they are against Divine good and against Divine truth; for "Jehovah" in the Word means the Lord in respect to Divine good proceeding from His Divine love, and "His glory" means Divine truth; to be against this is signified by "rebelling against the eyes of His glory;" "the hardness of their faces which answers against them" signifies to refuse Divine truth and Divine good, and not to admit them into their thoughts and affections, which are their interiors.

[34] In Ezekiel:

Behold I have made thy faces hard against their faces, and thy forehead hard against their forehead (Ezekiel 3:8).

This was said to the prophet, by whom is signified the doctrine of truth and good combating against falsities and evils; therefore "his faces made hard against their faces" signifies the rejection of falsities by truths, and "his forehead hardened against their forehead" signifies the rejection of evil by good; for "faces" signify the affections of truth, or the affections of falsity, and "forehead" signifies the affection of good or the affection of evil. The affection of truth and good is hardened and becomes outwardly hard from zeal, when it is combating against falsity and evil, otherwise it could not repulse them; but it is not so inwardly. From this it can be seen how these words must be understood. Since "faces" signify man's interiors, or the things that are of his thought and affection, the same word in the Hebrew that means "face" means what is interior.

[35] (In these explanations various things have been said respecting "faces" which cannot be easily understood, perhaps, without further exposition; I will therefore add what has been said and shown respecting faces in the Arcana Coelestia, namely, that the face is formed to a correspondence with man's interiors, n. 4791-4805, 5695; on the correspondence of the face and countenance with the affections of the mind, n. 1568, 2988, 2989, 3631, 4796, 4797, 4800, 5165, 5168, 9306; consequently the interiors shine forth from the face, n. 3527, 4066, 4796; with the ancients the face made one with the interiors, n. 35 3573, 4326, 5695; it also makes one with the interiors with the angels in heaven, and with sincere men in the world, n. 4796, 4797, 4799, 5695, 8250; in the other life the faces of all become such as their interiors are, n. 4798, 5695; experiences respecting changes of the face there according to the interiors, n. 4796, 6604; on the influx of the interiors of the mind, or of the understanding and will into the face and its muscles, n. 3631, 4800; with flatterers, dissemblers, hypocrites, and the deceitful, the face does not act as one with the interiors, n. 4799, 8250; with such the face is taught to feign sincerity, honesty, and piety, n. 4326; how influx from the brains into the face became changed in process of time, and with it the face itself in respect to its correspondence with the interiors, n. 4326, 8250; the natural of man is like an interior face to the spiritual mind and its sight, n. 5165, 5168. See also what has been said and shown respecting faces in the work on Heaven and Hell 46-48, 142-144, 457-459, 553.)

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Footnotes:

1. The photolithograph has "faces;" the Greek has "face," which is also found in AE 148; Apocalypse Revealed 938; but the former reading is found in AC 9936, 10579.

2. The photolithograph has "us," but this is rectified in the explanation.

3. The photolithograph has "trust;" Hebrew has "confess." IB, IV n. 107, 767 have the latter translation.

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(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 2988-2989, 3573, 4796-4797; Ezekiel 14:7-8; Genesis 32:20; Jeremiah 3:9; Psalms 27:8-9, Psalms 80:16-17, Psalms 102:1-2; Revelation 6:16)

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