6353. 'Instruments of violence are their swords (machaera)' means that religious teachings serve to destroy charitable deeds, thus charity itself. This is clear from the meaning of 'instruments of violence' as things that serve to destroy charity (the fact that 'instruments' are things that serve is self-evident, while the fact that 'violence' means the destruction of charity will be seen shortly below); and from the meaning of 'swords as religious teachings. For 'swords' (gladius) are the truths of faith that are employed to fight against falsities and evils, 2799; thus swords' (machaera) 1
are religious teachings, here teachings employed to fight against truth and goodness and to annihilate them, for they are employed by those who champion faith alone, or faith separated from charity, and with whom the opposite of charity resides.
 The religious teachings employed by those who champion faith alone to dispense with charitable works are principally these:
A person is saved by faith alone without the works of charity.
Those works are unnecessary, and a person can be saved by faith alone even in his final hour when he dies, irrespective of how he has lived throughout the whole course of his life.
Thus those who have performed nothing else than cruel deeds, robberies, acts of adultery, or unholy deeds can be saved.
Consequently salvation is merely a letting into heaven, which means that none are let in except those who have received that grace at the end of their lives, and which also means that some by God's mercy have been chosen and others by the lack of it have been damned.
The truth of the matter however is that the Lord does not deny heaven to anyone. The life people have led and the communication of that life, which is perceived in heaven in the way an odour is on earth by its recipients, make it completely impossible for them to be there; for they are tormented in heaven by the wicked life they led more than they are in the deepest hell.
 'A sword' means falsity fighting and killing. This is evident in John,
There went out another horse, fiery red; and it was granted to the one sitting on it to take away peace from the earth, so that people would kill one another, for which reason there was given him a great sword. Revelation 6:4.
In the same author,
If anyone kills with the sword, he must be killed with the sword. Revelation 13:10, 14.
 'Violence' is the use of force against charity. This is plain from many places in the Word, as in Isaiah,
The violent one will cease to be and the scornful one will be destroyed. All ripeners of iniquity 2
will be cut off, those who cause a person to sin by a word, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and cause him who is just to turn aside to something empty. Isaiah 59:20, 21.
Here a different expression is used in the original language for 'the violent one'; but it carries a similar spiritual meaning. The fact that 'the violent one' is someone who uses force against charity is meant when it says that 'they cause a person to sin by a word' and 'cause him who is just to turn aside'.
 In the same prophet,
Their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood. Isaiah 59:6-7.
Here 'violence' stands for force used against charity, a force that is also meant by 'shedding blood', see 774, 1005. In the same prophet,
No longer will there be violence in your land, a laying waste and ruin within your borders. Isaiah 60:18.
'Violence' stands for the destruction of charity, for the outcome is a laying waste and ruin in the land, that is, in the Church.
Arcana Coelestia 374)
 In Jeremiah,
I proclaim violence and a laying waste, for the word of Jehovah was made to me a reproach and ignominy the whole day. Jeremiah 20:8.
Here also 'violence' stands for violence in spiritual things, thus for the destruction of charity, and also of faith. In Ezekiel,
The land is full of the judgement of blood, 3
and the city is full of violence. Ezekiel 7:23.
'The judgement of blood' stands for the destruction of faith, 'violence' for the destruction of charity.
 In the same prophet,
If he begets a violent son, a shedder of blood, who does any one of these things; if he eats on the mountains, or defiles his companion's wife, oppresses the wretched and needy, engages in plunderings, does not restore the pledge, or lifts his eyes to idols, commits abomination, lends at interest and takes usury, will he live? He will not live; he will surely die. Ezekiel 18:10-13.
In this description of what 'a violent son and a shedder of blood' is, the wrong-doings that are listed are all the charitable works he destroys; thus 'a violent son and a shedder of blood' is one who destroys charity and faith.
 In David,
Deliver me, O Jehovah, from the evil person; from the man of violent actions preserve me. Those who think evil things in their heart gather together all the day for war, they make their tongue sharp, like a serpent; the poison of an asp is under their lips. Keep me, O Jehovah, from the hands of the wicked; from the man of violent actions preserve me. Do not let a slanderer 4
be established in the land; as for the violent man, evil hunts him down, to overthrow him. Psalms 140:1-4, 11.
'The man of violent actions' stands for those who destroy the truths of faith and forms of the good of charity. Their fight against these is meant by 'they gather together all the day for war, they make their tongue sharp, like a serpent', 'the poison of an asp is under their lips', and 'evil hunts him down, to overthrow him'. 'Violence' is referred to in other places besides these, such as Ezekiel 12:19; Joel 3:19; Malachi 2:16-17; Zephaniah 3:4; Psalms 18:48; 55:9-11; 58:2-5; Deuteronomy 19:16.
1. The Hebrew word m'kerah, which Swedenborg renders machaera here in Genesis 49:7, does not occur again in OT. But machaera, a Greek word for a sword, is generally retained by Swedenborg in quotations from NT.
2. The Latin means judgement but the Hebrew means iniquity.
3. literally, bloods
4. literally, a man of tongue
Genesis 49:5-7; Psalms 58:3-6)