Arcana Coelestia #842

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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842. 'And God made a wind pass over the earth, and the waters subsided' means the arrangement of all things into their proper order. This is clear from the meaning of 'wind' in the Word. All spirits, both good and evil, are compared and likened to the wind, and are even called winds. And in the original language the same word is used for spirits as for winds. In temptations, meant here by 'the waters that subsided', as shown already, evil spirits who deluge are present. With their delusions they flow in wave upon wave and activate kindred delusions residing with a person. When these spirits, or delusions, are dispersed the Word speaks of it being done by means of 'a wind', and in fact by 'an east wind'.

[2] Once the swell or waters of temptation have abated, the condition of someone undergoing temptation is similar to that of mankind generally, as I have been given to know from considerable experience. That is to say, evil spirits in the world of spirits sometimes group together in squadrons and in this way create disturbances. But they are broken up by other squadrons of spirits pouring out mostly from a position to the right, from the eastern quarter therefore, who strike so much fear and terror into them that they think only of taking flight. At that point those who have grouped themselves together are scattered in all directions, and in this way the communities of spirits drawn together for evil purposes are dissolved. The squadrons of spirits who disperse them in this fashion are called 'the East Wind'. In addition to this there are countless other ways of scattering them, and these too are 'east winds', which will in the Lord's Divine mercy be dealt with later on. When evil spirits have been dispersed in this fashion a kind of calm or silence follows the state of disturbance. A similar situation exists with the person undergoing temptation. While undergoing temptation he is amid the throng of such spirits; but when they have been driven away or dispersed, a kind of calm descends which is the start to an arranging of all things into order.

[3] Before anything is restored to order it is very common for everything to be reduced first of all to a state of confusion resembling chaos so that things that are not compatible may be separated from one another. And once these have been separated the Lord arranges them into order. Phenomena comparable to this take place in nature. There too every single thing is first reduced to a state of confusion before being put in its proper place. Unless atmospheric conditions included strong winds to disperse alien substances, the air could not possibly be cleared, and harmful toxic substances would accumulate in it. The same applies to the human body. Unless all things in the bloodstream, those that are alien as well as those that are congenial, were flowing along together unceasingly and repeatedly into the same heart where they are mixed together, the vital fluids would be in danger of clotting and each constituent could not possibly be precisely disposed to perform its proper function. The same also applies to a person's regeneration.

[4] 'The wind', in particular 'the East Wind', means nothing other than the dispersion of falsities and evils, or what amounts to the same, of evil spirits and genii, and after that an arranging into order. This becomes clear from what is said in the Word, as in Isaiah,

You will disperse them, and the wind will carry them away, and the tempest will scatter them. And you will rejoice in Jehovah, in the Holy One of Israel you will glory. Isaiah 41:16.

Here dispersing is compared to 'the wind' and scattering to 'the tempest' - a dispersing and scattering of evils - at which time regenerate persons 'will rejoice in Jehovah'. In David,

Behold, the kings assembled themselves, they went over together. They saw, and so they were astounded, thrown into confusion, and rushed about. Terror took hold of them there, pain like that of a woman in labour. By the East Wind You will shatter [the ships of Tarshish]. Psalms 48:4-7.

This describes the terror and confusion caused by 'the East Wind', a description based on occurrences in the world of spirits, for the internal sense of the Word embodies those occurrences.

[5] In Jeremiah,

[My people] will make their land an astonishment. Like the East Wind I will scatter them before the enemy. I will look them in the neck and not in the face 1 on the day of their calamity. Jeremiah 18:16-17.

Here similarly 'the East Wind' stands for the dispersion of falsities. Things of a similar nature are represented by the east wind that dried up the Sea Suph so that the children of Israel could go across, referred to in Exodus as follows,

Jehovah drove the Sea Suph back by a strong east wind all night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. Exodus 14:21.

Matters of a similar nature were represented by 'the waters of the Sea Suph' as are meant here by 'the waters of the flood'. This is clear from the fact that the Egyptians, who represented the evil, were overwhelmed, while the children of Israel, who represented the regenerate, as Noah does here, went across. 'The Sea Suph', like 'the flood', means damnation and also temptation. 'The East Wind' accordingly means the dispersion of the waters, that is, of the evils of damnation or of temptation. It is clear also from the Song of Moses after they had gone across, Exodus 15:1-19, and from what is said in Isaiah,

Jehovah will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt, and will shake His hand over the River with the might of His wind, and He will smite it into seven channels, and make it a road for shoes. Then there will be a highway for the remnant of His people, who will remain from Asshur, as there was for Israel when they came up out of the land of Egypt. Isaiah 11:15-16.

Here 'a highway for the remnant of the people who will remain from Asshur' stands for arrangement into order.


1. literally, the faces

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.