3901. The reason why the final state of the Church is compared to eagles gathered together where there is a carcass or body is that 'eagles' means man's rational ideas. When used in reference to forms of good 'eagles' means true rational ideas, but when used in reference to forms of evil 'eagles' means false rational ideas, or reasonings. 'Birds' in general means a person's thoughts, and in both the genuine and the contrary senses, 40, 745, 776, 866, 991, 3219; and each species has some individual meaning, 'eagles' meaning rational ideas because they are high-flyers and sharp-sighted. This meaning may be seen from many places in the Word, from which let the following be brought forward to confirm it. First, places where true rational ideas are meant: in Moses,
Jehovah found His people [Jacob] in a wilderness land and in the emptiness, the howling, the lonely place He encompassed him, instructed him, and kept him as the pupil of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreads out its wings, takes one, carries it on its wings. Deuteronomy 32:10-11.
That which is described here and compared to the eagle is instruction in the truths and goods of faith. The actual process up to the point when a person becomes rational and spiritual is what this description and comparison contains. All comparisons in the Word are made by means of meaningful signs, in this case by 'the eagle', which means the rational.
 In the same author,
Jehovah said to Moses, You have seen the things which I did to the Egyptians, and I bore you on eagles' wings so that I might bring you to Myself. Exodus 19:3-4.
Here the meaning is similar. In Isaiah,
Those who await Jehovah will be renewed with strength; they will mount up with strong wings like eagles; they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31.
'Being renewed with strength' stands for growth in the willing of good, 'mounting up with strong wings like eagles' for growth in the understanding of truth, and so growth of the rational. Here, as elsewhere, dual expressions are used to present the subject, the first of a pair involving good which belongs to the will, the second truth which belongs to the understanding. 'Running and not being weary' and 'walking and not fainting' are similar dual expressions.
 In Ezekiel,
Speak a parable about the house of Israel, and say, Thus said the Lord Jehovih, A great eagle with long pinions, full of feathers, in its embroidery, came on Lebanon and took a twig of the cedar. He carried it into a land of trade, he placed it in a city of perfumers. It sprouted and became a spreading vine. There was another great eagle with great wings and full of feathers, towards which, behold, this vine directed its roots, and sent out its branches towards it to water it from the beds of its young plants in a good field, by many waters. But it will be laid waste. He sent his ambassadors to Egypt that they might give him horses and many people. Ezekiel 17:2-9, 15.
The eagle mentioned first stands for the rational enlightened by the Divine, the eagle mentioned second for the rational originating in the proprium, subsequently perverted by means of reasonings based on sensory evidence and factual knowledge - 'Egypt' standing for factual knowledge, 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, and 'horses' for understanding resulting from all this, 2761, 2762, 3217.
Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165, Arcana Coelestia 2761-2762)
 In Daniel,
A vision of Daniel. Four beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion, but had eagle's wings. I watched it until its wings were torn away and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on its feet like a human being; and the heart of a human being was given to it. Daniel 7:3-4.
That which is described by 'a lion which had eagle's wings' is the first state of the Church, 'eagle's wings' in this case meaning rational ideas originating in the proprium. And when these had been removed, rational ideas and desires in the will which had a Divine origin were given to it. These are meant by the lifting up of the eagle from the ground and the standing of it on its feet like a human being, and the gift to it of the heart of a human being.
 In Ezekiel,
As for the likeness of the faces of the four living creatures or cherubs, each of the four had the face of a human being, and the face of a lion on the right side; and each of the four the face of an ox on the left side; and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Ezekiel 1:10.
Their wheels were called Galgal; and each one had four faces - the first face was the face of a cherub, the second face the face of a human being, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. Ezekiel 10:13-14.
Around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature was like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a human being, the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. Revelation 4:7.
Clearly, those living creatures that were seen mean Divine arcana, as consequently does the likeness of their faces. But exactly which arcana are meant cannot be known unless one knows what 'lion', 'calf', 'human being', and 'eagle' mean in the internal sense. It is evident that 'the face of an eagle' means vigilance and therefore providence, for the cherubs who were represented by the living creatures in Ezekiel mean the Lord's providence which guards against anyone entering the mysteries of faith from himself and his own rationality as the starting point, see 308. This also shows that when 'an eagle' is used in reference to a human being the rational is meant in the internal sense. It has this meaning because an eagle is a high-flyer and from its more exalted position has a wide view of things below.
 In Job,
Is it through your intelligence that the hawk flies up and spreads its wings towards the south? Is it at your command 1
that the eagle lifts itself up and makes its nest up high? Job 39:26-27.
In this verse it is evident that 'the eagle' means reason which is an attribute of intelligence. This was what 'eagle' meant in the Ancient Church, for the Book of Job is a book of the Ancient Church, 3540 (end). In fact the writing of almost all the books of that period involved the use of meaningful signs, but with the passage of time meaningful signs have been so eclipsed that it is not even known that 'birds' in general means thoughts, even though these are referred to many times in the Word and in those places quite clearly is meant something different from birds.
Acts of the Apostles 1:1)
 As regards 'the eagle' in the contrary sense meaning rational ideas that are not true, and so are false, this is evident from the following places: In Moses,
Jehovah will raise up above you a nation from far away, from the end of the earth, as an eagle flies, a nation whose language you do not understand, a hard-faced nation. Deuteronomy 28:49-50.
Behold, he comes up [like] clouds, and his chariots like a whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we have been laid waste! Jeremiah 4:13.
In the same prophet,
Your bragging has deceived you, and the pride of your heart, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill; because, like the eagle, you have made your nest up high, I will cast you down from there. Behold, he mounts up and flies like an eagle, and spreads his wings over Bozrah; and the heart of the powerful men of Edom has become on that day like the heart of a woman in distress. Jeremiah 49:16, 22.
In the same prophet,
Our pursuers were swifter than eagles; they pursued us over the mountains, they laid in wait for us in the wilderness. Lamentations 4:19.
Make yourself bald, and shave your head for the children of your delight; extend your baldness like an eagle, for they have departed from you. Micah 1:16.
If you raise yourself up like the eagle, and if you place your nest among the stars, I will bring you down from there. Obad. verse 4.
I am rousing the Chaldeans, a bitter and headlong nation, marching into the breadths of the earth, to inherit habitations that are not its own. Its horses are swifter than leopards. 2
Its horsemen will come from afar. They will fly in like an eagle hastening to devour. Habakkuk 1:6, 8.
 In all these places 'eagles' means falsity that has been introduced through reasonings - the delusions of the senses and external appearances being the source of that falsity. 'The Chaldeans' referred to in the last of the Prophets quoted means people who outwardly are holy but inwardly are under the influence of falsity, see 1368, and these like Babel are those who lay waste the Church, 1367. 'The breadths of the earth' means truths (the vastation of which is meant by 'marching into the breadths of the earth') see 3433, 3434, and 'horses' their intellectual concepts, which are similar, 2761, 2762, 3217. What is meant by 'an eagle hastening to devour' is clear from all this, namely a hastening to make man desolate of truths, for the desolation of the Church is the subject in these verses. Comparisons are made with eagles, but as has been stated, comparisons in the Word are made by means of meaningful signs. From all this one may now see what is meant by the comparison with the eagles which will be gathered together where the carcass is.
1. literally, mouth
2. The Latin means eagles, but the Hebrew means leopards, which Swedenborg has in other places where he quotes this verse.
1. And Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob [any children], and Rachel was jealous of her sister, and said to Jacob, Give me sons; if you do not, I am dead.
2. And Jacob flared up in anger against Rachel, and he said, Am I in God's place, who is withholding from you the fruit of the womb?
3. And she said, Behold, my maidservant Bilhah; go [in] to her, and let her bear [a child] upon my knees, and I too shall be built up from her.
4. And she gave him Bilhah her servant-girl as his wife, and Jacob went [in] to her.
5. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.
6. And Rachel said, God has judged me, and also has heard my voice, and has given me a son. Therefore she called his name Dan.
7. And Bilhah, Rachel's servant-girl, conceived again and bore a second son to Jacob.
8. And Rachel said, With the wrestlings of God I have wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed. And she called his name Naphtali.
9. And Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, and she took Zilpah her servant-girl, and gave her to Jacob as his wife.
10. And Zilpah, Leah's servant-girl, bore Jacob a son.
11. And Leah said, A troop comes! And she called his name Gad.
12. And Zilpah, Leah's servant-girl, bore a second son to Jacob.
13. And Leah said, In my blessedness! for the daughters will call me blessed. And she called his name Asher.
14. And Reuben went in the days of the wheat harvest and found dudaim in the field, and brought them to Leah his mother. And Rachel said to Leah, Give me now some of your son's dudaim.
15. But she said to her, Is it a small thing for you to have taken my husband? And will you take also my son's dudaim? And Rachel said, Therefore he will lie with you this night [in return] for your son's dudaim.
16. And Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him and said, You must come [in] to me, for I have surely hired you with my son's dudaim. And he lay with her that night.
17. And God hearkened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son.
18. And Leah said, God has given me my reward, because I gave my servant-girl to my husband. And she called his name Issachar.
19. And Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob.
20. And Leah said, God has endowed me with a good dowry; once again my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons. And she called his name Zebulun.
21. And afterwards she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah.
22. And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her and opened her womb.
23. And she conceived and bore a son, and she said, God has taken away 1
24. And she called his name Joseph, saying, May Jehovah add to me another son.
25. And it happened, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, Send me away and let me go to my own place and to my own land.
26. Give me my womenfolk and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you.
27. And Laban said to him, If now I have found grace in your eyes have learned from experience, and Jehovah has blessed me for your sake.
28. And he said, Indicate your wages to me, and I will give them.
29. And [Jacob] said to him, You know how I have served you, and how your cattle have fared with me.
30. For you had few before I came, and they have increased into a multitude; and Jehovah has blessed you since I set foot here. And now, when shall I, even I, provide for my own house?
31. And he said, What shall I give you? And Jacob said, You shall not give me anything; if you will do this one thing for me, I will return, feed, and guard your flock.
32. I will pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted member of the flock, and every black one among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the she-goats; and that will be my wages.
33. And my righteousness will answer for me on the morrow, when you come [to look] over my wages that are before you; every one that is not speckled and spotted among the she-goats, and black among the lambs, is one stolen by me.
34. And Laban said, Behold, let it be according to your word.
35. And he removed on that day the variegated and spotted he-goats, and all the speckled and spotted she-goats, every one that had white in it, and every black one among the lambs; and he gave them into the hand of his sons.
36. And he put three days' journey between himself and Jacob; and Jacob was feeding the rest of Laban's flocks.
37. And Jacob took for himself fresh rods of poplar, and hazel and plane, and stripped white strips on them - an exposing of the white which was on the rods.
38. And he set the rods which he had stripped in runners, in the troughs of water where the flocks came to drink, in front of the flocks; and they came on heat as they came to drink.
39. And the flocks came on heat at the rods, and the flocks brought forth variegated, speckled, and spotted ones.
40. And Jacob singled out the lambs, and set the faces of the flock towards the variegated, and every black one in Laban's flock; and he put his own droves apart and did not put them near Laban's flock.
41. And so it was, whenever those came on heat - those of the flock which came together first - that Jacob put the rods before the eyes of the flock in the runners, so that they would come on heat at the rods.
42. And before [the eyes of those of] the flock which came together later he did not put [the rods] in. And those which came together later were Laban's, and those which came together first were Jacob's.
43. And the man became very very prosperous, 2
and he had many flocks, and servant-girls and slaves, and camels and asses.
1. literally, gathered up
2. literally, spread himself exceedingly exceedingly
Arcana Coelestia 1327, 2761-2762, Arcana Coelestia 3433-3434)