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Daniel 8

Riveduta Bibbia (1927)         

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1 Il terzo anno del regno del re Belsatsar, io, Daniele, ebbi una visione, dopo quella che avevo avuta al principio del regno.

2 Ero in visione; e, mentre guardavo, ero a Susan, la residenza reale, che è nella provincia di Elam; e, nella visione, mi trovavo presso il fiume Ulai.

3 Alzai gli occhi, guardai, ed ecco, ritto davanti al fiume, un montone che aveva due corna; e le due corna erano alte, ma una era più alta dell’altra, e la più alta veniva su l’ultima.

4 Vidi il montone che cozzava a occidente, a settentrione e a mezzogiorno; nessuna bestia gli poteva tener fronte, e non c’era nessuno che la potesse liberare dalla sua potenza; esso faceva quel che voleva, e diventò grande.

5 E com’io stavo considerando questo, ecco venire dall’occidente un capro, che percorreva tutta la superficie della terra senza toccare il suolo; e questo capro aveva un corno cospicuo fra i suoi occhi.

6 Esso venne fino al montone dalle due corna che avevo visto ritto davanti al fiume, e gli s’avventò contro, nel furore della sua forza.

7 E lo vidi giungere vicino al montone, pieno di rabbia contro di lui, investirlo, e spezzargli le due corna; il montone non ebbe la forza di tenergli fronte, e il capro lo atterrò e lo calpestò; e non ci fu nessuno che potesse liberare il montone dalla potenza d’esso.

8 Il capro diventò sommamente grande; ma, quando fu potente, il suo gran corno si spezzò; e, in luogo di quello, sorsero quattro corna cospicue, verso i quattro venti del cielo.

9 E dall’una d’esse uscì un piccolo corno, che diventò molto grande verso mezzogiorno, verso levante, e verso il paese splendido.

10 S’ingrandì, fino a giungere all’esercito del cielo; fece cader in terra parte di quell’esercito e delle stelle, e le calpestò.

11 S’elevò anzi fino al capo di quell’esercito, gli tolse il sacrifizio perpetuo, e il luogo del suo santuario fu abbattuto.

12 L’esercito gli fu dato in mano col sacrifizio perpetuo a motivo della ribellione; e il corno gettò a terra la verità, e prosperò nelle sue imprese.

13 Poi udii un santo che parlava; e un altro santo disse a quello che parlava: "Fino a quando durerà la visione del sacrifizio continuo e la ribellione che produce la desolazione, abbandonando il luogo santo e l’esercito ad essere calpestati?"

14 Egli mi disse: "Fino a duemila trecento sere e mattine; poi il santuario sarà purificato".

15 E avvenne che, mentre io, Daniele, avevo questa visione e cercavo d’intenderla, ecco starmi ritta davanti come una figura d’uomo.

16 E udii la voce d’un uomo in mezzo all’Ulai, che gridò, e disse: "Gabriele, spiega a colui la visione".

17 Ed esso venne presso al luogo dove io stavo; alla sua venuta io fui spaventato, e caddi sulla mia faccia; ma egli mi disse: "Intendi bene, o figliuol d’uomo! perché questa visione concerne il tempo della fine".

18 E com’egli mi parlava, io mi lasciai andare con la faccia a terra, profondamente assopito; ma egli mi toccò, e mi fece stare in piedi.

19 E disse: "Ecco, io ti farò conoscere quello che avverrà nell’ultimo tempo dell’indignazione; poiché si tratta del tempo fissato per la fine.

20 Il montone con due corna che hai veduto, rappresenta i re di Media e di Persia.

21 Il becco peloso è il re di Grecia; e il gran corno fra i suoi due occhi è il primo re.

22 Quanto al corno spezzato, al cui posto ne son sorti quattro, questi sono quattro regni che sorgeranno da questa nazione, ma non con la stessa sua potenza.

23 E alla fine del loro regno, quando i ribelli avranno colmato la misura delle loro ribellioni, sorgerà un re dall’aspetto feroce, ed esperto in strattagemmi.

24 La sua potenza sarà grande, ma non sarà potenza sua; egli farà prodigiose ruine, prospererà nelle sue imprese, e distruggerà i potenti e il popolo dei santi.

25 A motivo della sua astuzia farà prosperare la frode nelle sue mani; s’inorgoglirà in cuor suo, e in piena pace distruggerà molta gente; insorgerà contro il principe de’ principi, ma sarà infranto, senz’opera di mano.

26 E la visione delle sere e delle mattine, di cui è stato parlato, è vera. Tu tieni segreta la visione, perché si riferisce ad un tempo lontano".

27 E io, Daniele, svenni, e fui malato vari giorni; poi m’alzai, e feci gli affari del re. Io ero stupito della visione, ma nessuno se ne avvide.

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Explanation of Daniel 8      

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

Brown Ram Goat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Chapter 8, we have these verses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next two verses are:

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

---

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

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

The Writings offer insight into how these alternations work:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's a fourth set of verses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-----
Footnotes:

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

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

7. cf. True Christian Religion 537.

8. Apocalypse Explained 600.

9. Apocalypse Explained 716.

10. Heaven and Hell 141.

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

13. Jeremiah 11:19

14. Isaiah 40:11

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

16. Cf. Apocalypse Revealed 17.

17. Arcana Coelestia 1068, 3671, 10670.

18. Arcana Coelestia 585.

19. Apocalypse Explained 741:2.

20. Arcana Coelestia 4669.

21. Apocalypse Explained 741[2].

22. Arcana Coelestia 4769.

23. Arcana Coelestia 2410, 3895,

24. Apocalypse Explained 418.

25. Apocalypse Explained 410.

26. Arcana Coelestia 3448.

27. Arcana Coelestia 4769, 3708.

28. Arcana Coelestia 1250, 3249, 3708.

29. Daniel 7:7.

30. Apocalypse Explained 632, 720.

31. Arcana Coelestia 4769, Apocalypse Explained 720.

32. Cf. Apocalypse Explained 573,

33. Apocalypse Explained 632.

34. Apocalypse Explained 720.

35. Apocalypse Explained 179.

36. Arcana Coelestia 933.

37. Daniel 7:12.

38. Arcana Coelestia 22.

39. Cf. Arcana Coelestia 2405.

40. Arcana Coelestia 5194.

41. Arcana Coelestia 900.

42. Daniel 7:16.

43. Apocalypse Explained 302.

44. Heaven and Hell 52, Arcana Coelestia 8192.

45. Arcana Coelestia 8192.

46. Arcana Coelestia 2694, 5279.

47. Arcana Coelestia 9807.

48. Arcana Coelestia 9807.

49. Doctrine about the Lord 28.

50. Cf. True Christian Religion 753ff.

51. Clarke at this chapter.

-----

Swedenborg

Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 411, 1664, 2832, 10042, 10455

De Verbo (The Word) 5

Fede 63

Cielo e inferno 171

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 179

True Christian Religion 851

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 38


Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 22, 1458, 1808, 2333, 2405, 2495, 2547, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 34, 36, 51, 151, 270, 447, 541, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 83, 85

L’Amore Coniugale 26

Divina Provvidenza 134

Doctrine of the Lord 4, 28, 52

Fede 61, 65, 66, 67

Ultimo Giudizio (Supplemento) 13

True Christian Religion 157, 537, 764


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 50, 63, 72, 179, 316, 412, 418, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 5

De Verbo (The Word) 15

Ultimo Giudizio (postumo) 220

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re
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

visione
Vision is the innermost revelation, which is of perception. Visions are according to the state of humankind. The visions of people whose interiors are closed,...

dopo
Secondo Swedenborg, il tempo e lo spazio non esistono nella realtà spirituale, sono cose puramente naturali che esistono solo sul piano fisico. Ciò significa che...

elam
Elam, mentioned in Isaiah 21:1, signifies faith originating in charity, consequently, the internal church. Elam, in Jeremiah 49:34, (Jer. 49:34), signifies the falsification of doctrine....

occhi
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

montone
'A ram' signifies the Lord’s divine spiritual nature pertaining to a person. 'A ram' signifies the good of innocence and charity in the internal self....

corna
'A horn,' when spoken of the Lord, signifies omnipotence. 'The little horn that rose up,' as mentioned in Daniel 7:3-8, signifies the full perversion of...

settentrione
'North' signifies people who are in obscurity regarding truth. North,' in Isaiah 14:31, signifies hell. The North,' as in Jeremiah 3:12, signifies people who are...

venire
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

terra
"Terra" nella Bibbia può significare una persona o un gruppo di persone che la pensano come in una chiesa. Ma si riferisce specificamente all'esterno della...

toccare
Imagine having your mother touch your cheek. Then imagine having your spouse or someone you love romantically touch your cheek. Then imagine having a baby...

corno
'A horn,' when spoken of the Lord, signifies omnipotence. 'The little horn that rose up,' as mentioned in Daniel 7:3-8, signifies the full perversion of...

visto
To look,' as in Genesis 18:22, signifies thinking, because seeing denotes understanding. Look not back behind thee,' as in Genesis 19:17, means that Lot, who...

due
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

grande
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

quattro
The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

cielo
I cieli sono cose celesti e spirituali. Di conseguenza, sono le cose più profonde, sia del regno del Signore nei cieli che della terra. Questo...

esercito
A host and an army come from the same Hebrew word and mean the same thing in Bible; when the Children of Israel were numbered...

stelle
'Stars' signify the knowledge of truth and good. 'Stars' are frequently mentioned in the Word, and always signify goods and truths, but in an opposite...

capo
Captains and Rulers (Jer. 51:23) signifies principal evils and falsities. Captains and Rulers (Ezek 33:6) signifies principal truths. See Chief Captains.

dato
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

verità
There's a great deal of talk in Swedenborg about "truth" as a concept – it's how we learn the Lord's will, what we must seek...

santo
'Sanctuary' signifies the truth of heaven and the church. 'Sanctuary,' as in Ezekiel 24:21, signifies the Word.

disse
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

santuario
'Sanctuary' signifies the truth of heaven and the church. 'Sanctuary,' as in Ezekiel 24:21, signifies the Word.

voce
When the Lord speaks through the heaven, it descends into the lower spheres and is heard as thunder. As He speaks through the whole of...

venuta
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

tempo
Time is an aspect of the physical world, but according to Swedenborg is not an aspect of the spiritual world. The same is true of...

stare
'To stay with,' as in Genesis 32:4, relates to the life of truth when accompanied by good, and in this instance, it means to take...

in piedi
'To stand,' and 'come forth' as in Daniel 7:10, refers to truth. In Genesis 24:13, it signifies a state of conjunction of divine truth with...

conoscere
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

media
'Madai,' as in Isaiah 21:1, signifies the external church, or external worship in which is the internal. See Genesis 10:2, where 'Madai' is called 'the...

grecia
Greece, in the Word, signifies the nations about to receive the truths of doctrine. Greece signifies the same as ‘isles.’ The king of Greece represents...

primo
Why would it be insulting for a man to refer to his married partner as his “first wife”? Because it implies there will be a...

nazione
'Nations' signify people who are in the good of love and charity from the Lord. Two nations in the womb,' as in Genesis 25:23, signify...

astuzia
Guile signifies to deceive and seduce for a deliberate purpose.

prosperare
'To be made to prosper' signifies being provided for. Which is why 'Jehovah made it prosper in his hand' means Divine Providence. 

mani
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

principe
Captains and Rulers (Jer. 51:23) signifies principal evils and falsities. Captains and Rulers (Ezek 33:6) signifies principal truths. See Chief Captains.

principi
Captains and Rulers (Jer. 51:23) signifies principal evils and falsities. Captains and Rulers (Ezek 33:6) signifies principal truths. See Chief Captains.

mano
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

malato
'The sick,' as in Matthew 25:35, signify people in evil, and those who acknowledge that in themselves there is nothing but evil.

giorni
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

Bible

 

Daniel 10:9

Riveduta Bibbia (1927)         

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9 Udii il suono delle sue parole; e, all’udire il suono delle sue parole, caddi profondamente assopito, con la faccia a terra.

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Exposition of Daniel's Vision of a Man      

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

If chapter nine describes the process of repentance we must pass through in order to be fully rid of selfishness, then chapter ten is the next logical step, and carried us into the early stages of repentance. With this in mind it is possible to see the final six chapters of Daniel as a completing sequence of spiritual development from an awareness of the presence of evil and the initial judgment on it, as shown in chapter seven, a state of self examination and a vision of the horrors of evil in chapter eight. Chapter nine follows then with the first rejection of evil from the force of conscience, and chapter ten begins the series of temptation. The very long eleventh chapter completes the series with the total rejection of selfishness, and chapter twelve is a beautiful image of the new state breaking into our minds, as a result.

The process of repentance initiates states of temptation From our human perspective there is often no break in the time-frame or progression of these states, and we simply move from one to the next—and at times seem to be sliding backwards because we have more than one evil we repent of, and are often tempted in different areas of life and on different levels. The process of regeneration, as we have seen in this study of Daniel is not a simple linear progression from one state to the next.

All spiritual life begins in states of selfishness and evil (Or "condemnation," see Divine Providence 83). A person before beginning the process of repentance is led by the love of self and of the world, "and these delights prevent him from knowing that he is in evils, for every delight of love is felt as good". A second state, the state of "reformation" begins when the person "begins to think about heaven on account of the joy there; and thus concerning God from whom the joy of heaven comes to him" (Divine Providence 83).

Unless people reflect on it, they miss the distinct difference between these two states. The first is our Nebuchadnezzar/Belshazzar combination governing our inner and outer being, when everything we feel, think or do is permeated with selfishness. As we saw earlier one of the flaws of that state is its inability to reflect on itself. Thus we have Daniel, or our conscience, to show us alternatives to selfishness, to inspire us with thoughts of heaven and the Lord. However, these thoughts also show us the discrepancies between our state and the ideal state of heaven, with the result that we enter into states of temptation because our vision of truth motivates us to turn aside from selfishness.

This introduces the third state or the active state of being reborn. Regeneration begins “when a person desists from evils as sins, and it progresses as he shuns them, and is perfected as he fights against them; and then, as he from the Lord conquers them, he is regenerated” (Divine Providence 83:6).

From this passage we can clearly see that "regeneration" is a process. There is probably no point at which one can say "now I am regenerated," for there are always evils to desist from, shun and fight, and so there is a perpetual perfecting of our human spirit.

VERSE 1
Chapter ten begins in the now familiar way of introducing a time and a ruler. It begins in the "third year" of Cyrus, king of Persia. These opening words, which mark a passage of time in the historical sense indicate a passage of state in our spiritual journey. Spiritual life is a process, and we move from one state to another in an orderly progression. The "third year," as we have seen several times before means the end of one state and the beginning of the next, and to understand this sequence we have to place each "year" into the context of the chapters which have gone before it.

The prayer of repentance in Daniel chapter nine takes place in the first year of the reign of Darius. As such it depicts the dawning of a new state in which a person who has seen the evils of his or her live, is moved by their conscience to repent. Both chapter five and chapter eight describe the move away from evil. Chapter six and nine, then have Darius in common, with chapter six setting the historical scene with Daniel being elevated to second in command of Babylon—a man much prized and treasured by Darius. Thus we see a progression in which the conscience is lifted up and given power over our minds.

The way in which the power is given, however, is shown in the repentance prayer of chapter nine, for without repentance we cannot engage our evils, face them, or defeat them.

It follows, then that we are ready for the next state, symbolised by Cyrus, king of Persia. The Persians came to be a military and political force under Cyrus. While the Medes controlled Babylon, the Persians gathered force on their eastern border. By 550 BC Cyrus had overrun the Median empire, by which time Daniel had been in Babylon for about fifty-five years. He would have been somewhere between sixty-five and seventy-five years old. When the time came for Cyrus to attack Babylon, the city fell "with astounding ease" (Bright 1972:360) in 539 BC As John Bright writes, “the Babylonians were more than ready for a change, while toleration was characteristic of Cyrus. Neither Babylon nor any of the outlying cities were harmed. Persian soldiers were ordered to respect the religious sensibilities of the population and to refrain from terrorising them. Oppressive conditions were ameliorated” (Bright 1972:361).

The historical man Cyrus embraced the gods of Babylon. He publicly worshipped Marduk, and claimed his right to rule as given by the gods. Yet as we saw in chapter nine, Cyrus also made the proclamation allowing the Jews to return to Israel and begin rebuilding the temple at government cost. Perhaps it is because of this generosity of spirit and action which accords the high representation Cyrus enjoys in the internal sense. Certainly he was a king of a completely different mould from either Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar. Bright comments that "Cyrus was one of the truly enlightened rulers of ancient times" (Bright 1972:362).

Could this enlightenment come from the fact that Persia originally lay to the east of Babylon, and the east represents the Lord (Cf. Apocalypse Explained 600). Or it could be Cyrus' allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem—in itself something loaded with meaning.

Whatever the reason is, however, Cyrus has a most exalted representation, for he represents the Lord in His Human (Arcana Coelestia 8989:6). This can be clearly seen in Isaiah's prophecy, where he refers to Cyrus as "the Lord's anointed," and we are told that this means that in these verses "Cyrus" represents how the Lord from His Divine goodness acting by means of His Divine truth subjugated the hells during the glorification process (The Lord's glorification is the process of how the Lord took on a human from Mary, making it possible for the hells to attack Him. Drawing from the Divine love within, He defeated them one after another and made them subject to Himself. In the same process, by purifying the human from Mary, He made it possible for the Divine to descend to the level at which human beings live. Human regeneration is a finite version of the Lord's glorification, except that while the Lord acted from His own power, humans have no power of their own, but draw it from Him), and keeps the hells forever under his control (Apocalypse Explained 298:11).

Cyrus must have the same representation in the book of Daniel because of the context in which he is introduced. We see him, for the first time, after the prayer of repentance in chapter nine, and, as we have seen repentance introduces a new state, one of temptation and spiritual development.

The state of repentance presupposes two things, firstly that a person is aware of active evils within him or herself, and secondly that one is aware of the wrongness of the evil. The great difficulty in repentance is reconciling ourselves to giving up things our conscience has labelled evil. It is difficult because the other side of our personality, the side which favours the evil, may not see it as evil. Our minds at this stage are divided into two camps, almost as if there were two people within us.

Daniel's vision takes place in the third year of the reign of Cyrus because repentance brings the Lord close to us. As a person prays to the Lord for help to overcome, so the Lord grants that help as well as the sense of hope, comfort and inward joy. Without the Lord's power we have no ability whatever to fight against our sins (Arcana Coelestia 1661, 8172, 10481), because our resistance to evil is really the presence of the Lord acting in us to hold us back from committing the evil (Arcana Coelestia 929). The art of repentance is coming to believe that this is so, and learning to put our confidence and trust in the Lord—not an easy thing to do when a significant part of us resists this process with all its might.

It is partly because of this that the opening verse of chapter ten is so objectively stated, as if some narrator other than Daniel himself is telling the story. Certainly one could read into this that Daniel was not the author of this verse, because he only begins speaking in the next verse and seems so detached in the present verse. However, another way of looking at it is that this detachment is really the result of two forces present in our minds as we repent.

The side of goodness is represented by the statement that a message was revealed "to Daniel." As we have seen earlier, Daniel represents our conscience, or the pattern of our thoughts drawn from the knowledges we learn in the Word. When a person believes these things to be true, he or she separates him or herself from the merely worldly knowledges we accumulate from our environment. The other side of us, the Babylonian or selfish side, does not see Daniel this way. Nebuchadnezzar almost immediately renamed Daniel "Belshazzar" as if in denial of his Jewish roots. In this we see the selfish side of us as willing to know truths, even truths from the Word, but to see them as no different from the many things our environment teaches us, and certainly not as a motivating conscience.

At the time of repentance these two sides dwell within us, ready to pull us in two directions as we begin the process of temptation, or the battle of evil against our states of love and goodness.

VERSES 2-6
After the introductory verse, which seems to narrate Daniel's experience, Daniel himself begins to relate the account of his vision. This verse can also be seen as part of the first thing said in this section, because it sets the scene and tone for the rest of the vision.

Daniel's description begins with the words "in those days." As we have seen before, time in the Word always describes state, and the state Daniel here describes is the state of temptation following from repentance. He describes this as a state of mourning.

When a person experiences temptation after the act of repentance, the person passes, as it were, into a spiritual mourning: We mostly associate the concept of mourning with death, especially the loss of a loved one. Yet all losses indicate a mourning of some sort or another. The act of repentance is no exception. When a person repents, his or her mind is lifted up from a selfish state into a higher light. The person is able to: see his or her actions with relative clarity, or at least clearly enough to understand that they are wrong and be willing to reject them.

As the states of selfishness reassert themselves- such as we saw the satraps do in the reign of Darius when they tried to trick him into killing Daniel, so we begin a spiritual battle, the battle of temptation. The first casualty of that battle is the clarity with which we had seen our evils. It is more difficult to see the wrong in something when part of our mind wants to embrace it. In those states our mind is divided into two. The understanding may KNOW that it wrong, but the will WANTS to follow the wrong path anyway, and unless we are very careful, the will will cloud our understanding, and we will loose our perception of the wrongness of our feeling, thought or action. If this happens, we give into the temptation.

So Daniel described his state as being one of mourning—mourning for the clarity of thought which the conscience presents before us to help us repent our sins. In. a spiritual state of mourning we may feel as if our understanding of truth has ceased (Arcana Coelestia 3580:3), and our understanding of truth, which had prompted us to repent, has been destroyed (Arcana Coelestia 4763). We come into this state because, as temptations begin to intensify, the turn our minds away from the Lord and His Word, focusing our thoughts and feelings upon ourselves so that we no longer receive His truths (Cf Apocalypse Revealed 492).

This state has to run its course—Daniel said he was in a state of mourning for "three full weeks." There is no short cut through the work of temptation, we should not pray to the Lord to take it away, for the prayers of those who ask for their temptations to be removed are not heard in heaven. To ask the Lord to remove these is counterproductive. We are told that the “prayers of those who are in temptations are but little heard; for the Lord wills the end, which is the salvation of the man, which end He knows, but not the man; and the Lord does not heed prayers that are contrary to the end, which is salvation” (Arcana Coelestia 8179).

So Daniel remained in that state for three full weeks. During that time he recounted that he "ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into his mouth." It is interesting how often when we are in a troubled state we loose our appetites. Food holds no appeal to us. This lack of appetite is just as true in times of spiritual combat as it is in natural troubles.

The reason why Daniel lost his appetite was because of the significance of food. When we eat the food becomes a part of our bodies, nourishing us from within and giving us the energy and sustenance to carry on our lives. Eating spiritual food does the same for our spirits. Spiritual eating is the appropriation of states of goodness and truth (Arcana Coelestia 3149, 3568, 3570), which can be compared to food and drink

Notice the sequence of ideas that make up Daniel's fast, He says he ate no "pleasant food, meat or wine." As we have seen many times in this study, lists. like this indicate a developmental series of ideas, which need to be explored. However, before we begin this exploration it is important to point out that the word "food" does not appear in the original. While the term used in the original language can mean "food," it is more specifically "bread" made from grain or corn (Brown Driver Briggs # 3899, Strong's Definition # 3899).

It is important to make this distinction, for while bread may be a staple diet, "food" as a generic term can mean things other than bread made from grain or corn. In the internal sense this kind of precision is important, for example in the Lord's prayer it is said, "Give us this day our daily bread," which would have a different meaning from "our daily food." Similarly in giving the Holy Supper the Lord took bread and broke it, saying this is My body. The fact is He chose bread from amongst the food on the table to represent His body.

The "bread" is so important is because it symbolises everything good and truth with a person (Arcana Coelestia 2165). Goodness and truth are the nourishment of our soul, and together they form the presence of the Lord within us. The Lord is present in us in our love and faith towards Him, especially in the uses we perform towards other people.

In the highest sense "bread" symbolises the love of the angels of the Lord's. celestial heaven, which is the greatest love one human being can express towards another. The essence of this love is humility, for the person in this love "acknowledges and believes that he is something vile and filthy (Arcana Coelestia 1594:4)." This may seem like strong language, but the whole process of the self-examination in chapters seven and eight and the repentance of chapter nine leads to this assumption. The point of this humility, however, is not to denigrate the human spirit for the sake of denigration, but to make it posib1e for us to identify and remove the blockages which allow the Lord to flow into and vivify us. It is hard for us to come to this recognition, but unless we do we can never then experience the liberation of knowing that all true goodness with us comes from the Lord Himself. Freed from selfishness we are able to embrace one another as angels do. Angels do not love their neighbour as much as themselves, but more than oneself (Arcana Coelestia 1594).

Thus when Daniel described his state of mourning he described how no pleasant bread came into his mouth. When we are in a state of temptation we loose the sense that we are evil. All the work of self-examination goes down the drain as our selfish side exerts itself. We saw this very clearly in chapter four when Nebuchadnezzar, having seen his dream of the tree being cut down, and being humbled in the interpretation, still announces himself as the greatest. The result is that he looses his rationality and ends up like a wild beast for seven years.

Much the same thing happens to us. We can acknowledge the origin of evil, and see it in ourselves. We even pray to the Lord for deliverance from the evil. Yet as soon as that old selfishness exerts itself once again we fall right back into it. We loose the clarity of sight, which showed us the nature of evil, with the result that our ability to love our neighbour more than ourselves disappears. No pleasant bread comes into our mouths.

Now notice that Daniel continues his list, no meat or wine came into his mouth. "Meat" represents the external things of love in our lives, the behaviours associated with loving our neighbour (Cf. Arcana Coelestia 574, 627). We call these behaviours "charity" ("Meat" represents charity, see Arcana Coelestia 5204). When a person shuns or removes selfishness from their lives, the removal results in external behaviour, which is the outward expression of their love towards others.

In a similar way, he drank no wine. "'Wine" represents a persons faith (Arcana Coelestia 1071:4). People often think of faith as a commodity, or a possession. One Bible, in notes about faith describes it as "your title deed to eternal life" (The Open Bible. 1975. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc. Page 1151). But faith is not a possession as such. One acquires faith through a process of learning spiritual truth from the Word, coming to see the truth of the things learned, and then putting one's trust and confidence in those teachings.

The truths making up faith are described as "water" in the literal sense of the Word. In the story of the Lord turning water into wine one is shown how the truths, by the person acknowledging them to be truth, are turned into spiritual truth, or faith. Faith changes from being an intellectual exercise into a matter of life when a person uses the truths, which make up faith to guide and direct his or her life.

In a state of temptation this process doesn't take place. In his state of mourning Daniel ate no bread, and no meat or wine came into his mouth. In this verse, then, we get a wonderful picture of how, as our evils reassert themselves after a period of repentance, we do not loose our sense of being evil, which makes it possible for us to be lured back into our old evils. At the same time, our love for others and our basic faith are shaken.

We can compare this state with two incidents in the historical section. First Nebuchadnezzar in Chapter four dreams of the mighty tree being cut down. This describes how one's selfishness is brought under control. The process is a form of inward temptation, similar to the images and visions of evil Daniel relates in chapters seven and eight. Yet even with the knowledge of the impending rejection of evil, Nebuchadnezzar still allowed his self-esteem to lead him, with the result that he ended up like a wild beast for seven years.

The second incident is the story of Darius the Mede, who promoted Daniel to a position of high honour, but allowed the satraps to appeal to his vanity with the result that Daniel was cast into the lion's den.

Both of these incidents show how after repentance people fall back into their old ways. Nebuchadnezzar represents our inner man and Darius our external. Together they are us. When we repent the idea of repenting begins in our inner being, and it has to be expressed in our outer, more public self. At the beginning of the process we may indeed be overcome by the enormity of our evils, but after a while they begin to reassert themselves, we loose the urgency or immediacy of the need to overcome them, and relapse into a state of temptation. We eat no bread, no meat or wine enters our mouths.

In addition to not taking food, Daniel also did not anoint himself at all. "Anointing" is the ancient custom of pouring oil over something in order to make it holy for example kings and priest were anointed as an external sign of their office, and internally as a sign that they represented the Lord (Arcana Coelestia 3009, 9144, 10019, 10118 et al).

By being anointed with oil (the oil used was olive oil) means to come into a state of goodness resembling that the Lord Himself, for He was the "anointed," meaning that His Divine love for the entire human race came down into the human form of Jesus Christ, making it possible for what had been an invisible love in the Old Testament to become completely visible in the New. For this reason anointing hold a high place amongst the rituals and practices of the people of Old Testament times, as a prophecy that the Lord would indeed come into the world.

To "anoint oneself' therefore, means to come into states which are receptive of the Lord's presence and one does this by learning faith and bringing into the practice of charity.

This makes it clear how in times of temptation, like Daniel, we do not anoint ourselves. Daniel could not do so because his state represents a time in human life when, as our concept of evil blurs—described by not eating bread, meat or wine—so our ability to do good also disappears. In this state we may know the truths of the Word in an intellectual fashion, but we do not live them (Arcana Coelestia 9272:5). The immediate result is that genuine goodness vanishes, and with it all our love for others and our willingness to act in accordance with our conscience ( Thus we lose our celestial love, which is the love of the Lord above all other things (Arcana Coelestia 9277). In other words, we relapse into our former state of selfishness as if the repentance never took place.

This state of mourning lasted for three weeks, representing a state of fullness. One cannot hurry temptation. Our spiritual battles run their own course, and it is up to us to keep our hearts and minds open to the Lord, thus keep the Daniel side of our lives alive. The Lord's teaching on fasting in the New Testament is of great importance to remember here. As we have seen from Daniel’s experience in a state of mourning, on fasts. Fasting, therefore, represents a state of temptation. Yet our temptation should not be public. As the Lord says in the Sermon on the Mount, we should "anoint our head and wash our face." In other words, even though we might be tempted to relapse into evils associated with selfishness, still we ought to continue to do good to other people, reaching out to them in love and charity. If we continue to do this, the temptation will eventually pass, for as we are told, “Act precedes, man's willing follows; for that which a man does from the understanding, he at let does from the will, and finally puts it on as a habit and it is then insinuated in his rational or internal man. And when it has been insinuated in this, the man no longer does good from truth, but from good; for he then begins to perceive therein somewhat of blessedness, and as it were somewhat of heaven. This remains with him after death, and by means of it he is uplifted into heaven by the Lord” (Arcana Coelestia 4353).

Daniel's' time of mourning passed after three weeks. He recounts how on the twenty-fourth day of the first month he "was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris" when his vision began.

A temptation by definition is a battle between goodness and evil in our will and truth and falsity in our understanding. The object of temptation is to confirm a person in a state of goodness and truth, which happens as the person, rejects their inclinations to and activities of evil. Thus the Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar states have to be brought down and replaced first with Darius and then with Cyrus states.

In the temptation following a state of repentance the two sides of our personalities are clearly demarcated. On the one side we have the loves of selfishness, and on the other the Daniel, our conscience which connects us to the Lord, enabling us to draw from His power, and, armed in this way to shun and resist evil. In the process the attraction for the evil is weakened, and we are able to confirm the leadership of our conscience.

Temptation does finish. Daniel describes coming out of this battle as the "twenty fourth day of the first month." As in all other composite numbers in the Word, "twenty four" refers to a specific state—although it is more easily seen if one uses the old fashioned expression of "four and twenty."

"Four" as we have seen before, describes a state of conjunction (Arcana Coelestia 9103, 6157). This is the uniting of the two sides of our minds in opposition to the unholy alliance of our selfishness and all the thoughts and actions which underpin it. In a state of temptation we must know why we are resisting an evil, that is, we need to see the evil as an evil. Then we must want to resist it. When this happens our win for goodness and our understanding of truth are brought together and we act in one mind. When we know something is evil, and so we don't want commit that act, then the evil looses its attraction for us. As this happens the evil looses its hold over our minds, and we are set free.

The number "four," then, describes the union of minds. The number twenty describes the state of peace we come into when the hold of the evil is broken. We can reach the number twenty in several ways, but generally it represents a state in which our combat with temptation ceass for a while, and we enter into a state of peace and quiet.

While Daniel was in this state he found himself beside the great river, the Tigris.

While Daniel was in this state of peace he found himself beside the great river, the Tigris. The Tigris, or Hiddekel (See Strong's #2313) was one of the two great rivers forming the Boundaries of Mesopotamia. It is first mentioned in the book of Genesis as being one of the rivers flowing through the Garden of Eden. Daniel finding himself beside this river is important in the internal sense because it describes the heightened states of awareness following temptation.

One of the characteristics of temptation is the sense that our knowledge or perception of evil disappears. It makes sense, then, that as the temptation passes, so one becomes aware once again of the nature of one's evils. Daniel standing on the banks of the River Tigris, or Hiddekel describes this awareness.

The Hiddekel is an east flowing river. As we have seen before, a river describes one's intelligence (Arcana Coelestia 7323), and the "east" represents the Lord. Thus this river describes how as temptation passes, our thoughts turn towards the Lord and He gives us insight into our states. In the exposition of the Genesis story where the River Hiddekel is mentioned we are told that it refers to "reason or the sharp sightedness of reason” (Arcana Coelestia 118).

Thus Daniel has entered a new state, one completely different from his mournful fasting. His questions about the captivity of Israel in Babylon were about to be answered. In a similar way, we are able to begin to see a way to finally break and leave behind our personal Babylon.

As he stood on the banks of the river, Daniel saw a vision completely different in form and outcome than the vision he had had beside the River Ulai in chapter eight. In that vision he saw how selfish states overrun the progress we make against evils as the he-goat trampled the ram. He watched in horror as the goat's horns spread across the land. In terms of our spiritual development the vision in the eighth chapter marks the low point of our spiritual life, and is • directly responsible for the repentance of chapter nine. The vision in this chapter, however, is very different Seen from the perspective of repentance and the temptation it brings, the vision inspires hope for the future.

As Daniel lifted up his eyes and looked he saw a man clothed in linen, and around his waist was a girdle of the gold of Uphaz. To understand the following verses we need to remind ourselves once again that Daniel represents our conscience which gives us the ability to face our selfish states and draw from an inner love of goodness and truth. When we are in temptation our conscience falls victim to our selfishness, just as the ram fell victim to the he-goat. Yet the conscience is the presence of the Lord in us, leading and guiding us through the maze of human pride and arrogance resulting from selfishness.

When we come out of temptation still willing to fight the evil within us, to break its hold, then we are like Daniel coming out of his fast, finding himself on the banks of the river. It was then, as he stood there, that Daniel lifted up his eyes and saw this wonderful vision.

If the Hiddekel represents the "sharp sightedness of reason" breaking into our minds as the temptation clears, the phrase "lifting up our eyes" represents light breaking into our eyes, or our understanding (That the "eyes" represent the understanding, see Arcana Coelestia 2701, 275, 4526 et al). To lift up our eyes describes the lifting of our understanding from immediate concerns to higher things, and from this one's understanding is filled with a "mental view, perception, and thought” (Arcana Coelestia 8160. See also Arcana Coelestia 2789, 2829, 3198, 3202, 4083, 4086, 4339). As our conscience reasserts itself, so we find our heads clearing, so to speak, as we reflect backwards on the truths which lead us to repent in the first place. Thus we lift up our eyes, and focus on guiding truths.

As Daniel lifted his eyes he saw a certain man, clothed in linen and girded with gold of Uphaz. He didn't know it at the time, but this "man" was sent to help him in his crisis. The "man" was an angel in whom the Lord was present (Arcana Coelestia 9872, Apocalypse Revealed 830) with His Divine truth (Arcana Coelestia 9406, Apocalypse Explained 504, 77). Angels, who keep us in a state of spiritual balance, always surround us. In temptation, however, the Lord "gives His angels charge over us, to keep us in all His ways" (Psalm 91:11). Temptation is an attack from hell, and, unless the Lord protected us in this way we would succumb. He is present with us in these times, His love surrounded by His divine truth, or wisdom, inspiring us to remember and hold fast to the conscience.

So Daniel saw this man. He was clothed with linen and girded with gold.. The linen represents the pure and genuine truths from the Word (Arcana Coelestia 9872, Apocalypse Revealed 671, Apocalypse Explained 951). In times of temptation the Lord leads us by our consciences. He calls to mind our beliefs, our ideals, and the memories of truth, which He has been laying up in our minds throughout our lives. These truths form the basis of our resistance to the evil.

If one thinks about it, one will find that in times of temptation our greatest defence is the knowledge that something is wrong, and the memory of this knowledge is often sharply etched on our conscious minds during those times

Yet in the actual state of temptation that knowledge looses its sharpness, depicted by no wine coming into Daniel's mouth. After the temptation passes, and one regains one's senses this knowledge returns. We find, ourselves becoming increasingly convinced of the truth and may see with great clarity that the attitude, or feeling, which had tempted us, was completely wrong.

Thus the man wore a linen garment. The garment was gathered together by a girdle of gold. As we have seen several times before, gold represents goodness. The reason why people turn away from evil is because it interferes with their ability to love and worship the Lord. We cannot serve two masters, we must choose one. The selfish side of us tries to focus our lives inward on self with the result that we become our own gods. The good, altruistic side of us focuses outwards into a life of use and service to others and through this into a love of the Lord Himself.

The gold in the girdle, therefore, represents our greater love for the Lord that ties and binds all our insights of truth together, making them a coherent oneness. When we both know the truth arid want to live according to it, we are armed against further attack from the hells, and:will be able to meet them when they arise.

As Daniel watched he noted other things about this man: his body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire., his arms and legs like burnished bronze in colour, and the sound of his words was like the voice of a multitude. All of these attributes are images of the presence of the Lord's truth with us that will help, us in times of temptation.

The insights of truth we have in these times are not only restricted to the deeper "theological" truths that make up our faith, but also insight into the nature of our very lives. Remember that this chapter was written in the reign of King Cyrus, indicating genuine progress on our part. One can expect to see some effects of this progress in our lives, for as we repent and overcome in states of temptation, so gradually we are led away from the evils of selfishness and their consequences. Our lives change.

The image of the man's body depicts the progress we make. First we are told that his body was like beryl. Beryl, or tarshish as it is called in the original language, is a yellow coloured stone (Brown Driver Briggs # 8658), which because it flashed with an inner light was included in the breastplate worn by the high priests of Israel (Exodus 28:20). The doctrines tell us that beryl represents the goodness arising from the act of turning away from evil, thus the good of charity (Arcana Coelestia 6135. The first act of charity is to shun evils as sins against the Lord. True Christian Religion 435).

The love of the Lord and other people, which results when a person puts away selfishness, is described as the lightning flashing from the man's face. This good comes to our conscious minds as a deeper understanding of the relationships we have with people and how selfishness can harm them. Selfishness prevents goodness' from expressing itself because whenever selfishness is present in an action it will always pollute it. No matter how good an action may seem, the lurking selfishness injects a secret agenda to turn that goodness to one's own advantage. Take the selfishness away, however, through the process of repentance and temptation, and the goodness is able to shine with a clear light in every part of one's being.

It is because of this that the man had feet like 'burnished gold, which is an image of the Divine truth of heaven shining down into the very external activities of a person's life (Arcana Coelestia 9406, Apocalypse Explained 69). Even our inherited good nature is filled with genuine goodness (Bronze = natural good Arcana Coelestia 425, Apocalypse Revealed 775), a state completely different, from the mind when it is ruled by selfishness. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream in chapter two, the feet of his image was made of iron mixed with clay, indicating that the weakest point of a selfish life is the external actions of our lives. Yet in this vision the feet of the man were of bronze, or good from the Lord affecting us right down to the very outermost level of our lives.

In this vision Daniel was allowed to see the presence of the Lord, in the form of an angel, protecting us as we develop spiritually. We may not see that angel with our eyes, as Daniel did, but the Lord leads us to a greater understanding of our spiritual life. We need to know we have made progress. The fact that this vision takes place in the reign of king Cyrus indicates that progress, for Cyrus represents the Lord subduing our selfishness and keeping it forever under control. Note the process of action, for the Lord is subduing our selfishness, and the process by which this takes place is the duality of repentance and temptation.

Yet we need to have a sight of goodness, of the benefits of life without selfishness—otherwise there would be no incentive to shun selfishness. We need to know that there is hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. That hope is given to us in the vision of the man Daniel saw when he was beside the river Tigris. We need to know that the clarity with which we see our evils will be challenged in times of temptation. We equally need to know that temptations do not last forever, that our clarity of thought will return. If we can hang on o to the images of goodness through our' temptation, coupled with the power of the truth that we can reach these stages,' then the Lord will be able to protect us and nurture is from within.

VERSES 7-9
Daniel makes an interesting observation about this vision: he was not by himself when he saw this vision, and yet the men who were with him did not see it. When Daniel saw visions he was not in his body, but his spiritual eyes were opened making it possible for him to see things in the spiritual world (Divine Providence 134, True Christian Religion 157, Apocalypse Revealed 36). These things are of such a nature as cannot easily be put into human terms, although we can come to have some understanding of them by using the correspondences given in the Heavenly Doctrines. This also explains why the men with Daniel could not see these visions either.

Notice that Daniel is very specific in his language here. He does not say "the people" who were with me, but the men. The Latin Bible Swedenborg read uses the Latin term "vir" meaning males. In the Word the term "male" refers to things from the understanding side of our minds, all our thoughts and intellectual insights. Because Daniel represents our conscience his natural home in our minds is in the understanding.

The Lord reveals Himself to us by means of truths from His Word. These enter our minds through our senses and illuminate our thoughts. If we receive those truths and allow them to influence us, they become our conscience, our Daniel.

We also learn many other truths as well from the natural world around us. While these may guide or influence our thinking, because they are not spiritual, they are not a part of our conscience, but may be affiliated to it to help and assist the conscience in its work. For example, if we know that stealing is wrong because it goes against the Ten Commandments, that knowledge can be part of our conscience and helps keep us honest. We may also know that theft is a criminal offence carrying a prison sentence, and because this knowledge is worldly it is not truly a part of our conscience, yet still it may encourage us for external reason to resist stealing.

The men who were with Daniel represent these kinds of knowledges that cannot be enlightened directly from the Lord because they are natural, but can be illuminated indirectly through the conscience. In other words, while the Lord does not lead us through a fear of the law, our fear of the law, when combined by our conscience can and will take on new meaning to us.

This is why Daniel said, "a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves." The state described here is one of great humility.

We would expect that Daniel's response to so wonderful a vision, a vision of hope, would be one of exaltation. Surely we think we would feel a sense of pride, a thrust of joy at knowing that we are not all bad, but that as we make spiritual progress so we become better and better. Such a response, however, is more suitable from Nebuchadnezzar than from Daniel. Pride in our spiritual achievements does not come from the Lord, but from self.

If we were genuinely making spiritual progress, our observation of any goodness in us would be tempered by the acknowledgement that such goodness comes from the Lord alone. As we mentioned earlier in this. chapter, humility rests in the acknowledgement that of ourselves we are nothing and the Lord everything.

Daniel sensed this humility as his strength deserting him and his "vigor turned to frailty." Genuine humility does this to us. For when we come to recognise the Lord as the sole source of all the good we do and all the truth we think, we come to realise how little we are. Up to the point of this realisation we had been buoyed along by the presence of Nebuchadnezzar in our inner being and Belshazzar in our outer, public self. When we repent, however, these states of selfishness in us begin to fail as the Lord draws near to give us the courage and support we need. He leads us to a better understanding of who we are and what we are capable of. Yet selfishness has no strength in His presence, and, like Daniel, we bow down before Him.

Thus Daniel fell down in "deep sleep upon his face, with his face to the ground."

VERSES 10-14
Daniel became aware of a hand touching him and a voice reassuring him. Humility opens our minds to the presence of the Lord, for in that state we acknowledge that without the Lord we are nothing except selfishness and evil. Our redeeming quality, our conscience, is the Lord's truth active in us. So as Daniel lay in a deep sleep with his face to the ground, a hand touched him.

In the modern English translation this passage is given an element of drama which is different from the original. The New King James Version reads: "Suddenly, a hand touched me..." interposing a quality of time quite different from what it should be. The word that should be used is "lo," indicating a sequence of ideas from one state to the next. Thus while Daniel was on his face, as a consequence, a hand touched him.

This follows well in understanding the regenerative series within the story. When we come through the process of repentance and the mournful state of temptation which comes from it, we are able to have a clearer view of our own states, and of how the Lord through His wisdom is leading us. His angel is always there to strengthen our conscience and commitment to shun evil. The result of this is humility, for when we are truly humble we know that the power to shun evils as sins against the Lord does not come from us, but from the Lord alone.

While we are in this humble state we feel again the presence of the Lord, and again through an angel. Daniel's feeling a hand represents our awareness or consciousness of the power of the Lord with us. In the Word a "hand" represents power (Arcana Coelestia 3021), for our hands convey the full thrust of our will and understanding making it possible for us to do things we want to do. By feeling a hand touching him, Daniel represents the way we feel the presence of the Lord in our humility. As this power touched him, Daniel trembled on the palms of his hands and on his knees.

The Lord's presence brings great changes to our lives. When our conscience leads us to the point of humility at which we can recognise the reality of our own selfishness, our lives begin to change dramatically. One cannot stare evil in the face from the perspective of our conscience, and remain untouched. There is recognition that of ourselves we are "vile and filthy" (Arcana Coelestia 1594:4) and with that a fear of harming the wonderful hope the Lord gives to us. Thus Daniel trembled as our consciences tremble in. this state.

The reason why we come into this state of fearing to hurt the Lord and His goodness with us comes from the hand touching Daniel. Daniel is touched twice more in this chapter, in verse 16 where “one having the likeness of the sons of men touched his lips," and later, in verse 18 when he is touched and strengthened by that touch. In each of these three verses the meaning of touch is the same.

When we touch person three things happen. Firstly we communicate something to that person. We show many of our emotions by means of touch love through caresses, anger through hitting, and so on. Secondly the sense of touch transfers these feelings to another person, so we can soothe and heal or hurt and destroy through the sense of touch. Each touch contains our inner thoughts and feelings. Finally, when we touch someone we evoke a response from him or her, and this depends on the person's reception of our touch.

All this is conveyed to Daniel when the angel touches him. In our spiritual life we are "touched" by an angel when we become aware of the truths from the Lord, which give life to our conscience and which strengthen us both in our resolve and commitment to shunning evils as sins. The clarity of vision expressed by Daniel being beside the Tigris River, and the vision of truth shown in the man standing there, are all part of the presentation of truth to our minds. As we come out of states of temptation we become keenly aware of the force and power of truth, and of communication of truth from the Lord to us.

This truth is transferred to our conscious minds from the Lord. The Doctrines teach that every thought and feeling flows into us from the Lord through heaven, or, from hell (Arcana Coelestia 904, 4249). A person cannot think without this inflowing of thought from angels and spirits around him or her (Arcana Coelestia 5288).

As we open our minds to receive the Lord's truths, so we remove blockages, objections and so on, and the truth communicated to us is transferred into our minds and becomes the essence of our own thought. This cannot happen without our consent, for we must be willing for this transfer to take place. The truth is, however, that in the state of humility we are willing to receive the Lord, for when we are humble and think ourselves evil, and when we think the Lord is everything, then we are willing to be led by Him. Thus the third aspect of a touch takes place in our reception of the Lord's presence. Daniel's response to this reception is one of great fear. He is still bowed down, on hands and knees, trembling as a result of seeing the image of the man beside the River. This trembling is a result of a change of state from being in temptation to suddenly seeing the light of truth, and as a result overcoming the temptation and being led out of it. The Doctrines say, that "all who come suddenly from self-life into any spiritual life are at first afraid, but their love is renewed by the Lord" (Apocalypse Explained 80).

This state of fear can be seen in other places in the Word when angels appear to people. Probably the best example is in the Christmas story, when the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah, Mary and the Shepherds. On each occasion he begins his communication with the words "Do not be afraid."

Being afraid means “to turn away, it is a state of mind disturbed and changed by an imminent or visible danger to the life; but this is one thing with the good and another with the evil; with the good it is a disturbance of mind and a change of state from imminent and visible danger to the soul, but with the evil it is from imminent and visible danger to the life of the body” (Apocalypse Explained 677:8).

An angel appearing to our conscience warns us of danger to our soul. When a person is humble and he or she is aware of inner evils, especially selfishness, then the awareness of truth awakens that person to the spiritual danger around them. Selfishness can creep up on us. We saw earlier how Nebuchadnezzar, although humbled, still counted himself greatest of all things. Darius was no different, for he too exalted Daniel, and yet was willing for people to essentially call himself God. People need a warning signal, and the signal is a state of fear.

Daniel felt this holy fear sensibly, he "trembled on his knees and on the palms of his hands." The, doctrines describe holy fear as being experienced as a sacred tremor, and some times with our hair standing on end and gooseflesh (Apocalypse Revealed 56: "Holy Fear, which sometimes is joined with a sacred tremor of the interiors of the mind, and sometimes with the hair standing on end," i.e. "gooseflesh"). Maybe we feel that angelic presence more as the "pains of conscience" or the sense of guilt which alerts us to the fact that we have been acting contrary to our conscience.

The angelic presence however, served also to reassure Daniel. His words both loved and gentle, "O Daniel., man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you." For one who was carried captive to Babylon as a young boy, who had witnessed the passage of kings and emperors, who had see unspeakable pride, arrogance and cruelty, and to whom terrifying visions had been revealed, these words must have been a balm on Daniel's spirit.

Daniel was "greatly beloved." Most simply defined, love is a joining together of two into one (cf. Apocalypse Explained 213: "love effects conjunction and consequent presence…"). In this case, Daniel is conjoined to the Lord, and so is "greatly 'beloved." His state now represents the state of mind we come into when, having sincerely repented and endured temptation on account of it, we enter into a new clarity of vision of the type we would never before 'have dreamed possible. All Daniel's visions, which depict our awareness of the breadth and depth of our selfishness, stand to bolster our resolve to the freed from them. The depth of insight into our selfishness awakes within us a holy fear, and from that fear we are 'lead, by means of our conscience, into the presence of the Lord. Our conscience is the "greatly beloved."

If, in all the chapters leading up to this one, we have wondered about the power of selfishness to utterly destroy people's lives, now we see the counter-balance, the strengthening of goodness to uphold the truth. The angel said to Daniel: "understand the words I speak to you."

Our awareness of selfishness grows in clarity as we come to understand the truths that form our conscience. Each feeling, thought or action derived from selfishness stands in opposition to the truth. Engrossed in selfishness we often miss its real nature, but allow the scales to drop for a moment, and we come to see as never before. The very fact of our holy fear makes it possible for us to understand the angel's words.

Humility prostrates us before the Lord, as Daniel found himself trembling on hands and knees. Yet the Lord's love is such a nature that He continually lifts us .up. "Stand upright," the angel said, "for I have now been sent to you." So Daniel stood upright, trembling.

This represents a change of state in us. The essential quality of holy fear, or the fear of damaging the qualities and states of goodness and truth with us from the Lord, is still present, but from being bowed down with his face to the ground, we are now lifted up. It is interesting to note that when we are on our hands and knees we cannot lift our faces upwards towards heaven, but when we stand upright, we can look upwards, and, as it were, contemplate God.

The change in our minds comes when our conscience gains ascendancy in our minds. Selfishness drags us down, repentance and temptation, while they humble us, make it possible for us to look upward and see new visions of spiritual life we had not before believed possible.

The angel continued to speak to Daniel, saying, "Do not fear Daniel." Here again we see the recurring theme of holy fear representing the change of state we are going through. This makes it possible for us to go through further states of spiritual development, just as Mary in her holy fear was able to mother the Lord, and the shepherds in theirs to come and worship Him.

Our holy fear is the result of our spiritual progress to date. Our conscience begins to grow from the moment we begin learning truth, it protects us from the excesses of Nebuchadnezzar's table, as Daniel was protected by refusing to eat the king's food. It enlightens our minds, making it possible for us to see evil and falsity within ourselves and begin the process of shunning them. Thus the process of developing our conscience takes a lifetime, but it is not in vain for because of that conscience the Lord is able to be with us in truth, and lead us through truth so we can be conjoined to Him.

This path of development did come without opposition. As we have seen throughout the book of Daniel, selfishness and evil work continually to overcome and derail the process. The angel refers to this when he says, "the prince of Persia withstood me twenty one days." To withstand the conscience is to engage it in temptation (Arcana Coelestia 1664:2). Although the Writings do not specifically mention the "Prince of Persia," one must assume that he represents the states of selfishness and greed. Some biblical commentaries (e.g. Clarke's) assume that he is Cyrus. In view of Cyrus' correspondence to the Lord, and the role he plays in liberating the Jews from bondage, this is unlikely, unless one sees him in a negative correspondence in this point.

The precise identity of the "Prince of Persia" is not really important here. What is important is that he withstood the angel for twenty-one days. As in all composite numbers in the Word, twenty-one needs special care. It is the same number referred to at the beginning of this chapter when Daniel notes that he "was in mourning three full weeks," i.e. for twenty-one days.

Multiplying seven by three forms twenty-one and both these numbers have the signification of fullness or completeness. The implication is that the states of temptation or combat following repentance must, as we have seen before, follow its course.

What is new in this verse is how the attraction of evil, and the temptations with it, was broken. Note the angel's words, “And behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings. of Persia.”

The angel Gabriel was introduced earlier in the book of Daniel. Now a second angel is mentioned by name. Like Gabriel, Michael is not a single angel, but rather a society of angels performing a specific purpose, in this case helping the being who spoke to Daniel.

Each time Michael is mentioned in the Word it is in connection with a war of protection. In this case he defends the being from the Prince of Persia. Later on in this chapter, it is said "no one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince." In chapter twelve we will be told that Michael "stands watch over the sons of your people." We do not see him again in the pages of the Word until the twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation, where Michael defends the Woman clothed with the sun from the attack of the great dragon.

The imagery surrounding Michael is one of fighting for protection. In the internal sense he represents the “Defence of that part of the doctrine from the Word that teaches that the Lord's Human is Divine, and that a person must life a life of love to the Lord and of charity towards the neighbour that he or she may receive salvation from the Lord” (Apocalypse Explained 735).

This state of defence necessarily entails fighting against evils and falsities (Apocalypse Explained 735), which is why we see Michael in the role of a soldier protecting. Michael has a special significance for Daniel, however, for Daniel represents our conscience which is made up of the truths we have come to believe and which we allow to govern our lives. These truths are sorely tested in times of temptation, and unless the Lord continually strengthened them from within, we would forget them and fall prey to the assault from hell (Heaven and Hell 595, Arcana Coelestia 2410, 5854, 7479).

VERSES 15-21
Once again Daniel was reduced to a state of humility by the angel's words. He turned his face to the ground and became speechless. This inability to speak has a great bearing on the final part of this chapter. The Modern English renders the phrase "speechless," but both the original and the Latin Swedenborg used use the term "dumb" (Strong's #481. Schmidius uses the term "obmutui," meaning "dumb").

As we saw earlier, the presence of the Lord brings a state of fear and humility. The fear is a holy fear of harming or damaging the wonderful states of love that the Lord shows us is possible. The humility comes from the recognition of the Lord's mercy, which is accompanied by a failure of one's self-life in the presence of the Divine. Daniel is brought into this state in his vision, for he sees the man clothed in linen, and, when he falls to the ground he is lifted up and told not to fear. Again, as the being speaks, he turns his face to the ground and becomes dumb.

One of the aspects of humility is that it makes a person "speechless." In the New Testament we are told of Zacharias the priest who, after seeing the angel Gabriel was "speechless." A person is physically "dumb" when he or she cannot speak. The word in the original language implies that the person is "tongue-tied." The concept carries much the same meaning in the internal sense, for when a person is in humility, he or she is spiritually tongue-tied and can utter no words. “By "utterance" is not here meant that of the voice, or speech, for this utterance is natural; but by "utterance" is meant confession of the Lord, and the profession of faith in Him; for this utterance is spiritual. Hence it is evident what is signified in the internal sense by the "dumb," namely, they who cannot confess the Lord, thus cannot profess faith in Him, by reason of ignorance, in which state are the nations outside the church, and also the simple within the church” (Arcana Coelestia 6988).

Like Daniel we are unable to speak because in holy fear and humility it is almost impossible to lift up our voices to the Lord. Our awareness of the evil side of our being, contrasted with the Lord's mercy, is too much for us.

As we have seen in other parts of this study, the Lord never leaves us at a spiritual disadvantage. He created us human being so we can have a relationship with Him, so that we not only receive His presence, but are able to return it as well. Holy Fear and humility are essential to our spiritual development, but the Lord did not create us to be as dumb animals—even Nebuchadnezzar was lifted out of that state.

So it was that while Daniel was dumb, one, "having the likeness of the sons of men" touched his lips. The image of the "Son of Man" was introduced in chapter seven and eight is an image of the truth developing in our minds which will set us free from the bondage of selfishness and greed. In the current vision Daniel sees "one having the likeness of the sons of men," or the plural form. Truth is a great liberator, for as the Lord says: "If you abide in My word, you. are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" ( John 8:31-32).

The removal of "dumbness," or. the inability to acknowledge and confess the Lord, comes from an acceptance and embracing of the truth. Zacharias is a classic example of this, for when the people wanted to call his son, Zacharias after himself, “he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, "His name is John." So they all marvelled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God” (Luke 1:63-64).

The idea contained in this action is the way truth comes into our minds making it possible for the states of humility within us to be brought to fruition. If humility is essentially the recognition of our evil and the Lord's goodness, then it follows that the reception of His goodness into our lives is dependent firstly on our being willing to accept it, and secondly our willingness to use His power and presence to remove the states of evil which block His presence out of our lives.

When we repent and endure temptation as a result, we are brought into states of humility in which we can see both our evils and the states of goodness the Lord promises us. The awareness of evil renders us spiritually dumb—unable to confess and express our joy in the Lord. The "one bearing the resemblance of the sons of men" touching our lips, is a reminder of the truths we have learned and which form the basis of our conscience. These truths are in reality the presence of the Lord in us, for. each truth forms a vessel in our minds capable of receiving the Divine presence, and thus of lifting us up. Thus there is a communication and transfer of the Divine to us in the form of truths, which we receive in our thoughts as an increased insight into our evils and the actions necessary to over come them.

This is why the "one like the sons of men" touched Daniel, for as we saw earlier, touch contains the elements of communication, transfer and reception. Divine truth is communicated and transferred to us in the reminder of the Lord's presence in all the truths we know, in our commitment to living a life led by conscience, makes it possible for us to respond to the Lord. Our response, like Daniel's is still governed by the recognition of present and active evils in our minds—our selfishness and greed are still there, and we can see them clearly because of our conscience.

The essence of humility is that there is, must be, a further recognition that not only are we, in our own right, evil, but also we have no strength, no innate ability to fight against and overcome that evil. The only source of the strength we need is the Lord Himself.

Daniel depicts this beautifully. Once his lips were touched, his mouth was opened and he was able to speak. His words still indicate the humility arising from the recognition of his evils. He speaks of the "vision of his sorrows overwhelming him."

On the surface Daniel seems to speak of the sorrow overwhelming him. These certainly are the sorrows of the human state, as shown in chapters seven and eight. However, there lies beneath the surface a deeper insight into this.

The original word for "sorrow" comes from a root word meaning 'a hinge' (Strong's ref 6635, Brown Driver Briggs defines the word as "the pivot of a door, or a hinge."). Even the Latin word in the Schmidius Bible used by Swedenborg uses a word that is defined as 'a hinge' (See Schmidius at this ref. The word used is "cardo—is. 1 lit. the hinge of a door. 2. The point around which anything turns). At first glance this word makes little sense, until one thinks of how often life swivels around certain issues, or particular things. Those pivotal or hinging points, in our lives often make the difference between which path we choose and which we reject.

Daniel, touched on his lips by an angel, was aware of the differing paths of his life. It is interesting to note how, when we are in states of selfishness, when Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar controls our inner and outer beings, we seldom reflect on what we are doing. Our primary motivation in states of selfishness is self—if something seems good, or feels good to us, then surely it must be good. Using this logic we justify countless acts of pure selfishness and greed.

Yet in the presence of truth, when we reflect back on our lives, we come to see how often we reach pivotal points in our lives. It is true that each moment of life is made up of countless choices. Yet some of those choices require us to take stock of our lives, to change direction, or confirm the way we are following. Those times are our pivots.

Daniel, lying supine before the angel was taking stock of his own life, and in so doing he represents the activity of our conscience look back over our own lives. It can be a humbling experience. So often we do make the wrong choices, or do not react in the way we should. As we look backwards, so we realise that until we repent and allow our conscience to guide us, the chief pivot, our sorrow, will be the selfishness and greed of our personal Babylon.

Thus Daniel's words to the angel are very apposite: "because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength." So again we see the strong image of humility—we are humbled and saddened by what we have done with our lives to this point.

Yet again the Lord stirs us from within. The angel again touched Daniel and strengthened him. If there is true humility in us, then that humility can receive the presence of the Lord as He communicates His healing love and wisdom to us. The angel's words to Daniel are as comforting to us as they were to him: "O man greatly, beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!"

Our conscience is the "beloved" part of us, because it is the part that admits the Lord's presence to our minds, and so is the gateway to the heavenly peace the Lord gives us. Often in times of temptation and despair this seems unlikely, but the angel's words to Daniel apply just as much to us: "peace to you, be strong."

The angels words to Daniel are reminiscent of the Lord's Words to Joshua as he was about to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land—in the internal sense the two stories have much in common, as they both deal with the subject of conquering evils along the path of regeneration.

The source of spiritual strength is truth (Cf. Arcana Coelestia 4802, 2832)—great strength is attributed to truth because nothing is able to withstand it (Arcana Coelestia 426). Truths form the conscience, which guides us along the paths of life, yet in order for it to do so, to give us the power and ability to resist evil, it is necessary to bring that truth into practice. If truth is the source of strength, then the practice of truth is obedience to the commandments. True spiritual strength comes from the Lord alone, for He alone, from His own power fought against the hells and overcame them. We draw our strength from Him (Arcana Coelestia 1692). This power is given to us by means of angels surrounding us, who fight first commandment. The second is also against evil on our beha1f (Arcana Coelestia 1752, cf. Arcana Coelestia 50, 227, 228, 697, 968).

Spiritual peace and strength come from the power of the conscience to turn our minds away from selfishness. Even when it seems as if we are brought to our lowest, still, we can be lifted up. This is what the angel came to do. Addressing Daniel he poses a question, "do you know why I have come to you?"

The answer follows in his next words. The angel is returning to fight "with the prince of Persia. As we saw earlier in this chapter, the 'prince of Persia' is Cyrus, the king—this vision being seen in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. Note that the angel says he is going to fight 'with' the prince of Persia. One's initial reaction to interpret that 'with' as 'against'. Yet in the original language, 'with' can also mean 'with', that is, alongside, or on the same side as. The angel is not going to fight against Cyrus, but alongside him against the 'prince of Greece'. When one remembers that Cyrus represents the Lord saving the human race.

In the prophecy in chapter eight Daniel is shown that the male-goat with the large horn is "Greece"—which represents the decline of true religion into idolatry (see chapter eight). Yet note the speaker—the angel who lifted Daniel up and urged him to "be strong."

His words introduce the last battle recorded in Daniel, and its victory in Chapter Twelve. However, notice the terms the angel uses as the basis of his introduction: "I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth." These words in English seem so familiar, for we speak of the Scriptures as a synonym for the Word itself, as indeed it is. In the original language, the term "Scriptures" refers so something written down, a book or a record (Strong's #3791).

The next term "truth" gives us pause though. In the original the term we render as truth takes on a broader meaning of "stability, certainty, truth and trustworthiness" (Strong's #571). This word in turn is derived from a deeper original word meaning “to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain” (Strong's #539).

Looking at these original meanings of the words, one is able to be led beyond the narrow concept of the written word. The angel is speaking of the order of things which will happen when a person, imbued with conscience which had developed from both an understanding of truth and an understanding of one's own selfish states, takes hold in the mind. The whole thrust of the book of Daniel has built up to this point, each temptation, each victory, each vision, one upon another, builds up such spiritual momentum that if the person is willing, the final combats of regeneration can begin.

The angel refers to the "Scripture of Truth," but it is useful to see this as the certainty that if we live according to the Lord's teachings, if we are willing to walk the path demonstrated by Daniel, then our lives will have the same outcome. The truths which guide us will be our light, and the wisdom they give, together with the courage and strength to resist evil will be trust worthy, they will not fail.

Yet how can we be sure? The root word of Truth in this instance draws from concepts of building up, supporting and fostering, and surely this is what the Lord does during the process of regeneration. Each of us begins with a mind empty of truth, yet during the course of our lives we learn truth, values, morals, ethics, all in some form or another. These the Lord supports, fostering them as a parent or nurse fosters a helpless infant. As they develop during the course of life, so the Lord helps us to put our trust and confidence in these truth, until, in time they become a permanent part of our minds.

When truth reaches this stage in us—it is not a process which happens quickly, but through the process of life—then we are ready to face the final battles leading to ultimate victory.

Swedenborg

Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 181


Další odkazy Swedenborga k tomuto verši:

Apocalypse Revealed 56


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 77, 79

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Napsal(a) New Christian Bible Study Staff

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"Ahimelech Giving the Sword of Goliath to David" by Aert de Gelder

Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving relates to the fact that the Lord provides us all with true teachings for our minds and desires for good in our hearts, and for the fact that we need to accept those gifts while acknowledging that they come from the Lord, and not from ourselves.

One of the most common and significant uses of "give" in the Bible is the repeated statement that the Lord had given the land of Canaan to the people of Israel. This springs from the fact that Canaan represents heaven, and illustrates that the Lord created us all for heaven and will give us heaven if we will accept the gift.

(Odkazy: Apocalypse Revealed 889; Arcana Coelestia 2026, 3705 [3], 4455, 4576, 6139, 8899, 9174 [3], 9224, 10227)


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