372. And behold, a black horse, signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed in respect to truth. This is evident from the signification of "horse," as being the understanding (see above, n. 355; also from the signification of "black," as being what is not true; thus "a black horse" signifies the understanding destroyed in respect to truth. "Black" signifies what is not true, because "white" signifies what is true. That "white" is predicated of truth and signifies it, may be seen above n. 196. "White" is predicated of truth and signifies it, because white has its origin in the brightness of light, and "light" signifies truth; and "black" is predicated of what is not true and signifies it, because black has its origin in darkness, that is, from the privation of light; and because darkness exists from the privation of light it signifies the ignorance of truth. That "a black horse" here signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed in respect to truth, is evident from the signification of "the red horse" (treated of above), as being the understanding destroyed in respect to good. Moreover, in the church, in process of time, good first perishes and afterwards truth, and at length evil succeeds in place of good, and falsity in place of truth. This last state of the church is meant by "the pale horse" (of which presently).
Revelation 6:5; The Apocalypse Explained 196, 355)
 That "black" signifies what is not true is evident also from other passages in the Word, where it is mentioned. As in Micah:
It shall be night unto you for vision; and darkness shall arise to you for divination; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall grow black over them (Micah 3:6).
The "prophets" here treated of signify those who are in the truths of doctrine, and in a sense abstracted from persons, the truths of doctrine; that those meant by "prophets" would see evils and would divine falsities is signified by "it shall be night unto you for vision, and darkness shall arise to you for divination;" that they would know neither good nor truth is signified by "the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall grow black over them;" "sun" signifying the good of love, and day" the truth of faith, and "to grow black" signifying not seen or known.
 In Ezekiel:
But when I shall have extinguished thee, I will cover the heavens, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine (Ezekiel 32:7).
This is said of Pharaoh king of Egypt, by whom is signified the knowing faculty applied to falsities, which is done when the natural man from things known enters into things spiritual instead of the reverse; because this is contrary to order, falsities are seized upon and confirmed as truths; that then nothing flows in from heaven is signified by "I will cover the heavens;" and that there are then no knowledges of truth is signified by "I will make the stars thereof dark," "stars" meaning knowledges of truth; that there is consequently no good of love nor truth of faith is signified by "I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine," "sun" signifying the good of love, and "moon" the truth of faith. (That this is the signification of "sun" and "moon," see Heaven and Hell 116-125.)
"Sun," "moon," and "stars," have a like signification in Joel:
The earth was moved before him; the heavens trembled; the sun and moon were blackened, and the stars withdrew their shining (Joel 2:10; 3:15).
Likewise in Revelation:
The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood (Revelation 6:12).
What these things signify in particular will be seen in what follows.
 In Ezekiel:
In the day when he shall go down into hell, and I will cover the abyss over him, and I will withhold the rivers thereof, that the great waters may be held back, and I will make Lebanon black for him, and all the trees of the field shall faint for him (Ezekiel 31:15).
This is said of "Assyria," which is here compared to a cedar. "Assyria" here signifies reasoning about the truths of the church from self-intelligence, and "cedar" the truth of the spiritual church; that by such reasoning all knowledges of truth, and with them all truths that savor of good and have their essence from good, would be destroyed is signified by all these words; the "abyss which is covered over him," and the "rivers that were withheld," mean the knowledges of truth and intelligence therefrom, the "abyss" or "sea" signifying the knowing and the cognizing faculties in general that are in the natural man, and "rivers" signifying the things that pertain to intelligence; the "great waters that shall be held back," signify the truths which savor of good and derive their essence from good, "waters" mean truths, and "great" in the Word is predicated of good.
That "Lebanon was made black over him, and the trees fainted for him," signifies that there will be no longer any truths of the church, and with its knowledges there will be no perception of truth; for "Lebanon," in like manner as "cedar," signifies the church in respect to truths, thus also the truths of the church; and "trees of the field" signify the church in respect to the knowledges of truth, thus also the knowledges of truth of the church, "trees" meaning the knowledges themselves, and "field" the church; from this it is clear that "to make Lebanon black" signifies that there are no longer any truths of the church.
 In Lamentations:
The Nazarites were whiter than snow, they were brighter than milk. Their form is more dark than blackness; they are not known in the streets (Lamentations 4:7-8).
No one can know what this signifies unless he knows what the Nazarites represented. "The Nazarites" represented the Lord in respect to the celestial Divine; and as all the statutes of the church at that time represented such things as belong to heaven and the church, thus to the Lord, for all things of heaven and the church are from the Lord, and as the Nazariteship was the chief representative of the Lord, these words signify that every representative of the Lord had perished. A genuine representative of the Lord is described by "the Nazarites were whiter than snow, and brighter than milk," which signifies a representative of Divine truth and Divine good in its perfection; for "white" is predicated of truth, in like manner "snow," and "brightness" of the good of truth, in like manner "milk." That every representative of Divine truth had perished is described by "their form is darker than blackness, they are not known in the streets," "form" signifying the quality of truth, "blackness" signifying its no longer appearing, "streets" signifying the truths of doctrine, and "not to be known in them" signifying not to be recognized by genuine truths. What is further signified by "Nazarites" will be told elsewhere.
 In Jeremiah:
The whole land shall be a waste; but I will not make a consummation. For this shall the land mourn, and the heavens above shall be blackened (Jeremiah 4:27-28).
"The whole land shall be a waste" signifies that good and truth in the church shall perish, "land" meaning the church; "yet I will not make a consummation" signifies that something of good and truth will still remain; "for this shall the land mourn" signifies the consequent feebleness of the church; "the heavens above shall be blackened" signifies that there will be no influx of good and truth from the Lord through heaven; for the heavens are said to be "blackened" when no affection or perception of truth flows in from the Lord through heaven. Since in the churches before the Lord's coming, which were representative churches, mourning represented spiritual grief of mind on account of the absence of truth and good, for they mourned when oppressed by an enemy, on the death of a father or mother, and for like things, and oppression by an enemy signified oppression by evils from hell, and father and mother signified the church in respect to good and in respect to truth, because with them these things were represented by mourning, they at such times went in black.
 As in David:
I say unto God my rock, why hast Thou forgotten me? Why shall I go in black because of the oppression of the enemy (Psalms 42:9; 43:2)?
In the same:
I bowed myself in black as bewailing a mother (Psalms 35:14).
In the same:
I was bent, I was bowed down exceedingly; I have gone in black all the day (Psalms 38:6).
Ye have said, What profit is it that we walk in black before Jehovah? (Malachi 3:14).
For the breach of the daughter of my people I am broken down; I am made black (Jeremiah 8:21);
"daughter of the people" signifying the church. In Jeremiah:
Judah hath mourned, and her gates have been made to languish, they are made black even to the earth; and the cry of Jerusalem hath gone up; for their nobles sent their little ones for water, they came to the pits and found no waters, their vessels return empty (Jeremiah 14:2-3).
That "to be made black" signifies spiritual grief of mind because of the absence of truth in the church is evident from the particulars here in the internal sense; for "Judah" signifies the church in respect to the affection of good; and "Jerusalem" the church in respect to the doctrine of truth; "gates" signify admission to the church. That there were no longer any truths is described by "the nobles sent their little ones for water, they came to the pits and found no waters, their vessels return empty," "waters" signifying truths, and "pits" the things that contain, which are the doctrinals from the Word and the Word itself, and in these truths are no longer seen. From this it can be seen that "black" [nigrum] and "black" [atrum] in the Word signify the absence of truth; and "darkness," "clouds," "obscurity," and many things from which blackness arises have a like signification. As in Joel:
A day of darkness and of thick darkness, a day of cloud and of obscurity (Joel 2:2);
and in other passages.