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Sacred Scripture # 79

Sacred Scripture (Dole translation)      

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79. There are many passages in the prophets about our understanding of the Word, passages about the church, where it tells us that the church exists only where the Word is properly understood, and that the quality of a church depends on the quality of the understanding of the Word among its members. There are also many passages in the prophets that describe the church among the Israelite and Jewish people, a church that was utterly destroyed and annihilated by the distortion of the Word’s meaning or message, for this is exactly what destroys a church.

[2] The name Ephraim in the prophets, especially in Hosea, symbolizes both true and false understandings of the Word, because Ephraim in the Word means the understanding of the Word in the church. It is because the understanding of the Word makes a church that Ephraim is called “a precious child, and one born of delights” (Jeremiah 31:20), “the firstborn” (Jeremiah 31:9), “the strength of Jehovah’s head” (Psalms 60:7; 108:8), “powerful” (Zechariah 10:7), and “filled with a bow” (Zechariah 9:13); and the children of Ephraim are called “armed” and “bow-shooters” (Psalms 78:9). The bow means a body of teaching from the Word fighting against what is false.

So too, Ephraim was transferred to the right of Israel and blessed, and accepted in place of Reuben (Genesis 48:5, 11, and following; [1 Chronicles 5:1]). And therefore Ephraim, together with his brother Manasseh, was exalted over all by Moses in his blessing of the children of Israel in the name of their father Joseph (Deuteronomy 33:13-17).

(Odkazy: Genesis 48:11-15; Hosea 1:1)


[3] The prophets, especially Hosea, also use “Ephraim” to describe what the church is like when its understanding of the Word has been lost, as we can see from the following:

Israel and Ephraim will stumble. Ephraim will be desolate. Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment. I will be like a lion to Ephraim: I will tear them and leave; I will carry them off and no one will rescue them. (Hosea 5:5, 9, 11, 14)

What shall I do to you, Ephraim? Your holiness goes away like a cloud at dawn and like the morning dew that falls. (Hosea 6:4)

(Odkazy: Hosea 1:1, Hosea 5:11-14)


[4] They will not dwell in the land of Jehovah: Ephraim will go back to Egypt and will eat what is unclean in Assyria. (Hosea 9:3)

The land of Jehovah is the church, Egypt is the preoccupation of the earthly self with mere facts, and Assyria is rationalizing based on those facts; all of which lead to distortion of the Word in regard to the way it is understood. That is why it says that Ephraim will go back to Egypt and will eat what is unclean in Assyria.

[5] Ephraim feeds on the wind and chases the east wind. Every day he increases lies and devastation. He makes a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried down into Egypt. (Hosea 12:1)

To feed on the wind, chase the east wind, and increase lies and devastation is to distort what is true and in this way destroy the church.

[6] Much the same is also meant by Ephraim’s whoredom, since whoredom means distortion of the way the Word is understood - that is, distortion of its genuine truth. See the following passages:

I know Ephraim; he has committed whoredom in every way and Israel has been defiled. (Hosea 5:3)

I have seen something foul in the house of Israel: Ephraim has committed whoredom there, and Israel has been defiled. (Hosea 6:10)

Israel is the church itself and Ephraim is the understanding of the Word that is the source of the church and that determines its quality, so it says that Ephraim has committed whoredom and Israel has been defiled.

[7] Since the church among Jews had been completely destroyed because of its distortions, it says of Ephraim,

Am I to give you up, Ephraim? Am I to hand you over, Israel? Like Admah? Shall I make you like Zeboiim? (Hosea 11:8)

Since the book of the prophet Hosea, from the first chapter to the last, is about the distortion of the Word and the consequent destruction of the church, and since whoredom means the distortion of truth in the church, the prophet was commanded to represent that state of the church by taking a whore as his wife and fathering children by her (chapter 1); and also by forming a relationship with a woman who was committing adultery (chapter 3).

(Odkazy: Hosea 1:2-9, 3:2-3)


[8] These instances have been presented so that readers may know and be assured from the Word that the quality of a church depends on the quality of the understanding of the Word in it - outstanding and priceless if its understanding comes from genuine truths from the Word, but in ruins, actually filthy, if it comes from distortions.

For further evidence that Ephraim means the understanding of the Word, and in its opposite sense a distorted understanding leading to the destruction of the church, you may check some other passages that deal with Ephraim: Hosea 4:17-18; 7:1, 11; 8:9, 11; 9:11-13, 16; 10:11; 11:3; 12:1, 8, 14; 13:1, 8, 14; Isaiah 17:3; 28:1; Jeremiah 4:15; 31:6, 18; 50:19; Ezekiel 37:16; 48:5; Obadiah verse 19; Zechariah 9:10.

(Odkazy: Hosea 11:12, 13:12)

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Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 44, 297, 360, 571, 629, 740

Divine Providence 172, 256

Sacred Scripture 114


   Parallel Passages:

True Christian Religion 247


Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.

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Apocalypse Revealed # 360

Apocalypse Revealed (Rogers translation)      

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360. Of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed. This symbolizes a doctrine of goodness and truth in those people who will be part of the New Heaven and of the Lord's New Church.

In the highest sense Joseph symbolizes the Lord in respect to His Divinity on the spiritual plane; in the spiritual sense, the spiritual kingdom; and in the natural sense, reproduction and multiplication. Here, however, Joseph symbolizes the doctrine of goodness and truth that is found in people who are in the Lord's spiritual kingdom. Joseph has this symbolism here because he is named after the tribe of Zebulun and before the tribe of Benjamin, thus in between them, and the tribe mentioned first in a series or group symbolizes some love pertaining to the will; the tribe mentioned after that symbolizes some aspect of wisdom pertaining to the intellect; and the tribe mentioned last symbolizes some useful outcome or effect resulting from them. Every series is thus a complete one.

Since Joseph symbolized the Lord's spiritual kingdom, therefore He was made ruler in Egypt (Genesis 41:38-44, Psalms 105:17-22), where every particular has a symbolic meaning that has to do with the Lord's spiritual kingdom.

The spiritual kingdom is the Lord's royal one, while the celestial kingdom is His priestly one.

(Odkazy: Genesis 41:39; Psalms 105:17-23; Revelation 7:8)


[2] Joseph here symbolizes a doctrine of goodness and truth because he is substituted here for Ephraim, and Ephraim symbolizes the intellectual component of the church (see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture 79), the intellectual component of the church being everything derived from the doctrine of goodness and truth drawn from the Word.

Joseph is substituted here for Ephraim because Manasseh, Joseph's second son, who symbolized the volitional component of the church, was already included among the tribes (no. 355).

Because the intellectual component of the church is derived from a doctrine of goodness and truth, therefore Joseph symbolizes this intellectual component and also that doctrine in the following places:

Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring... His bow remained in strength... (He will be blessed) with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath... (Genesis 49:22-26)

The spring symbolizes the Word, and the bow doctrine (no. 299).

Blessed of Jehovah is (Joseph's) land, with the precious things of heaven, with the dew, and the deep lying beneath, and with the precious fruits of the sun, with the precious produce of the months, and... with the precious things of the earth and its fullness... Let it come on the head of Joseph... (Deuteronomy 33:13-17)

The precious things symbolize concepts of goodness and truth, from which comes doctrine.

...who drink from goblets of wine, and... are not grieved over the shattering of Joseph. (Amos 6:6)

I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph... (Hence) they shall be like mighty Ephraim, and their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. (Zechariah 10:6-7)

Here, too, Joseph stands for doctrine, the wine symbolizing its truth springing from goodness (no. 316).

(Odkazy: Revelation 7:8; Teachings about the Sacred Scripture 79)

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Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 342, 362, 915

Other New Christian Commentary

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