The Bible

 

Daniel 8

Greek OT: LXX [A] Unaccented Roots & Parsing         

Study the Inner Meaning

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1 ετος-N3E-GSN τριτος-A1--GSN βασιλευω-V1--PAPGSN *βαλτασαρ-N---GSM ορασις-N3I-NSF ος- --ASF οραω-VBI-AAI1S εγω- P--NS *δανιηλ-N---NSM μετα-P ο- A--ASN οραω-VB--AAN εγω- P--AS ο- A--ASF πρωτος-A1--ASFS

2 και-C οραω-VBI-AAI1S εν-P ο- A--DSN οραμα-N3M-DSN ο- A--GSN ενυπνιον-N2N-GSN εγω- P--GS εγω- P--GS ειμι-V9--PAPGSM εν-P *σουσα-N---DP ο- A--DSF πολις-N3I-DSF οστις- X--NSF ειμι-V9--PAI3S εν-P *ελυμαις-N---DS χωρα-N1A-DSF ετι-D ειμι-V9--PAPGSM εγω- P--GS προς-P ο- A--DSF πυλη-N1--DSF *αιλαμ-N---GS

3 αναβλεπω-VA--AAPNSM οραω-VBI-AAI1S κριος-N2--ASM εις-A3--ASM μεγας-A1P-ASM ιστημι-VXI-XAPASM απεναντι-P ο- A--GSF πυλη-N1--GSF και-C εχω-V1I-IAI3S κερας-N3T-APN και-C ο- A--NSN εις-A3--NSN υψηλος-A1--NSNC ο- A--GSN ετερος-A1A-GSN και-C ο- A--NSN υψηλος-A1--NSNC αναβαινω-V1I-IAI3S

4 μετα-P δε-X ουτος- D--APN οραω-VBI-AAI1S ο- A--ASM κριος-N2--ASM κερατιζω-V1--PAPASM προς-P ανατολη-N1--APF και-C προς-P βορεας-N1T-ASM και-C προς-P δυσμη-N1--APF και-C μεσημβρια-N1A-ASF και-C πας-A3--NPN ο- A--NPN θηριον-N2N-NPN ου-D ιστημι-VAI-AAI3P ενωπιον-P αυτος- D--GSM και-C ου-D ειμι-V9I-IAI3S ο- A--NSM ρυομαι-V1--PMPNSM εκ-P ο- A--GPF χειρ-N3--GPF αυτος- D--GSM και-C ποιεω-V2I-IAI3S ως-C θελω-V1I-IAI3S και-C υψοω-VCI-API3S

5 και-C εγω- P--NS διανοεομαι-V2I-IMI1S και-C ιδου-I τραγος-N2--NSM αιξ-N3G-GPM ερχομαι-V1I-IMI3S απο-P δυσμη-N1--GPF επι-P προσωπον-N2N-GSN ο- A--GSF γη-N1--GSF και-C ου-D απτομαι-V1I-IMI3S ο- A--GSF γη-N1--GSF και-C ειμι-V9I-IAI3S ο- A--GSM τραγος-N2--GSM κερας-N3T-NSN εις-A3--NSN ανα-P μεσος-A1--ASM ο- A--GPM οφθαλμος-N2--GPM αυτος- D--GSM

6 και-C ερχομαι-VBI-AAI3S επι-P ο- A--ASM κριος-N2--ASM ο- A--ASM ο- A--APN κερας-N3T-APN εχω-V1--PAPASM ος- --ASM οραω-VBI-AAI1S ιστημι-VXI-XAPASM προς-P ο- A--DSF πυλη-N1--DSF και-C τρεχω-VBI-AAI3S προς-P αυτος- D--ASM εν-P θυμος-N2--DSM οργη-N1--GSF

7 και-C οραω-VBI-AAI1S αυτος- D--ASM προςαγω-V1--PAPASM προς-P ο- A--ASM κριος-N2--ASM και-C θυμοω-VCI-API3S επι-P αυτος- D--ASM και-C πατασσω-VAI-AAI3S και-C συντριβω-VAI-AAI3S ο- A--APN δυο-M κερας-N3T-APN αυτος- D--GSM και-C ουκετι-D ειμι-V9I-IAI3S ισχυς-N3--NSF εν-P ο- A--DSM κριος-N2--DSM ιστημι-VH--AAN κατεναντι-P ο- A--GSM τραγος-N2--GSM και-C σπαρασσω-VAI-AAI3S αυτος- D--ASM επι-P ο- A--ASF γη-N1--ASF και-C συντριβω-VAI-AAI3S αυτος- D--ASM και-C ου-D ειμι-V9I-IAI3S ο- A--NSM ρυομαι-V1--PMPNSM ο- A--ASM κριος-N2--ASM απο-P ο- A--GSM τραγος-N2--GSM

8 και-C ο- A--NSM τραγος-N2--NSM ο- A--GPM αιξ-N3G-GPM καταισχυω-VAI-AAI3S σφοδρα-D και-C οτε-D καταισχυω-VAI-AAI3S συντριβω-VDI-API3S αυτος- D--GSM ο- A--NSN κερας-N3T-NSN ο- A--NSN μεγας-A1P-NSN και-C αναβαινω-VZI-AAI3S ετερος-A1A-NPN τεσσαρες-A3--NPN κερας-N3T-NPN κατοπισθεν-D αυτος- D--GSM εις-P ο- A--APM τεσσαρες-A3--APM ανεμος-N2--APM ο- A--GSM ουρανος-N2--GSM

9 και-C εκ-P εις-A3--GSN αυτος- D--GPN αναφυω-VDI-API3S κερας-N3T-NSN ισχυρος-A1A-NSN εις-A3--NSN και-C καταισχυω-VAI-AAI3S και-C πατασσω-VAI-AAI3S επι-P μεσημβρια-N1A-ASF και-C επι-P ανατολη-N1--GSF και-C επι-P βορεας-N1T-ASM

10 και-C υψοω-VCI-API3S εως-P ο- A--GPM αστηρ-N3--GPM ο- A--GSM ουρανος-N2--GSM και-C ρασσω-VQI-API3S επι-P ο- A--ASF γη-N1--ASF απο-P ο- A--GPM αστηρ-N3--GPM και-C απο-P αυτος- D--GPM καταπατεω-VCI-API3S

11 εως-C ο- A--NSM αρχιστρατηγος-N2--NSM ρυομαι-VF--FMI3S ο- A--ASF αιχμαλωσια-N1A-ASF και-C δια-P αυτος- D--ASM ο- A--NPN ορος-N3E-NPN ο- A--NPN απο-P αιων-N3W-GSM ρασσω-VQI-API3S και-C εκαιρω-VCI-API3S ο- A--NSM τοπος-N2--NSM αυτος- D--GPM και-C θυσια-N1A-NSF και-C τιθημι-VAI-AAI3S αυτος- D--ASF εως-C χαμαι-D επι-P ο- A--ASF γη-N1--ASF και-C ευοδοω-VC--API3S και-C γιγνομαι-VCI-API3S και-C ο- A--NSN αγιος-A1A-NSN ερημοω-VC--FPI3S

12 και-C γιγνομαι-VCI-API3P επι-P ο- A--DSF θυσια-N1A-DSF ο- A--NPF αμαρτια-N1A-NPF και-C ριπτω-VDI-API3S χαμαι-D ο- A--NSF δικαιοσυνη-N1--NSF και-C ποιεω-VAI-AAI3S και-C ευοδοω-VC--API3S

13 και-C ακουω-V1I-IAI1S ετερος-A1A-GSM αγιος-A1A-GSM λαλεω-V2--PAPGSM και-C ειπον-VBI-AAI3S ο- A--NSM ετερος-A1A-NSM ο- A--DSM φελμουνι-N---DS ο- A--DSM λαλεω-V2--PAPDSM εως-C τις- I--GSN ο- A--NSN οραμα-N3M-NSN ιστημι-VF--FMI3S και-C ο- A--NSF θυσια-N1A-NSF ο- A--NSF αιρω-VC--APPNSF και-C ο- A--NSF αμαρτια-N1A-NSF ερημωσις-N3I-GSF ο- A--NSF διδωμι-VC--APPNSF και-C ο- A--NPN αγιος-A1A-NPN ερημοω-VC--FPI3S εις-P καταπατημα-N3M-ASN

14 και-C ειπον-VBI-AAI3S αυτος- D--DSM εως-P εσπερα-N1A-GSF και-C πρωι-D ημερα-N1A-NPF δισχιλιοι-A1A-NPF τριακοσιοι-A1A-NPF και-C καθαριζω-VS--FPI3S ο- A--NSN αγιος-A1A-NSN

15 και-C γιγνομαι-VBI-AMI3S εν-P ο- A--DSN θεωρεω-V2--PAN εγω- P--AS εγω- P--NS *δανιηλ-N---NSM ο- A--ASN οραμα-N3M-ASN ζητεω-V2I-IAI1S διανοεομαι-VC--APN και-C ιδου-I ιστημι-VHI-AAI3S κατεναντιον-P εγω- P--GS ως-C ορασις-N3I-NSF ανθρωπος-N2--GSM

16 και-C ακουω-VAI-AAI1S φωνη-N1--ASF ανθρωπος-N2--GSM ανα-P μεσος-A1--ASM ο- A--GSM *ουλαι-N---GSM και-C καλεω-VAI-AAI3S και-C ειπον-VBI-AAI3S *γαβριηλ-N---VSM συνετιζω-VA--AAD2S εκεινος- D--ASM ο- A--ASF ορασις-N3I-ASF και-C αναβοαω-VA--AAPNSM ειπον-VBI-AAI3S ο- A--NSM ανθρωπος-N2--NSM επι-P ο- A--ASN προσταγμα-N3M-ASN εκεινος- D--ASN ο- A--NSF ορασις-N3I-NSF

17 και-C ερχομαι-VBI-AAI3S και-C ιστημι-VHI-AAI3S εχω-V1--PMPNSM εγω- P--GS ο- A--GSF στασις-N3I-GSF και-C εν-P ο- A--DSN ερχομαι-V1--PMN αυτος- D--ASM θορυβεω-VCI-API3S και-C πιπτω-VAI-AAI1S επι-P προσωπον-N2N-ASN εγω- P--GS και-C ειπον-VBI-AAI3S εγω- P--DS διανοεομαι-VC--APD2S υιος-N2--VSM ανθρωπος-N2--GSM ετι-D γαρ-X εις-P ωρα-N1A-ASF καιρος-N2--GSM ουτος- D--NSN ο- A--NSN οραμα-N3M-NSN

18 και-C λαλεω-V2--PAPGSM αυτος- D--GSM μετα-P εγω- P--GS κοιμαω-VCI-API1S επι-P προσωπον-N2N-ASN χαμαι-D και-C απτομαι-VA--AMPNSM εγω- P--GS αγειρω-V1I-IAI3S εγω- P--AS επι-P ο- A--GSM τοπος-N2--GSM

19 και-C ειπον-VBI-AAI3S εγω- P--DS ιδου-I εγω- P--NS αποαγγελλω-V1--PAI1S συ- P--DS ος- --APN ειμι-VF--FMI3S επι-P εσχατος-A1--GSN ο- A--GSF οργη-N1--GSF ο- A--DPM υιος-N2--DPM ο- A--GSM λαος-N2--GSM συ- P--GS ετι-D γαρ-X εις-P ωρα-N1A-APF καιρος-N2--GSM συντελεια-N1A-GSF μενω-VF2-FAI3S

20 ο- A--ASM κριος-N2--ASM ος- --ASM οραω-VBI-AAI2S ο- A--ASM εχω-V1--PAPASM ο- A--APN κερας-N3T-APN βασιλευς-N3V-NSM *μηδος-N2--GP και-C *περσης-N1M-GPM ειμι-V9--PAI3S

21 και-C ο- A--NSM τραγος-N2--NSM ο- A--GPM αιξ-N3G-GPM βασιλευς-N3V-NSM ο- A--GPM *ελλην-N3--GPM ειμι-V9--PAI3S και-C ο- A--NSN κερας-N3T-NSN ο- A--NSN μεγας-A1P-NSN ο- A--NSN ανα-P μεσος-A1--ASM ο- A--GPM οφθαλμος-N2--GPM αυτος- D--GSM αυτος- D--NSM ο- A--NSM βασιλευς-N3V-NSM ο- A--NSM πρωτος-A1--NSMS

22 και-C ο- A--NPN συντριβω-VD--APPNPN και-C αναβαινω-VZ--AAPNPN οπισω-P αυτος- D--GSM τεσσαρες-A3--NPN κερας-N3T-NPN τεσσαρες-A3--NPM βασιλευς-N3V-NPM ο- A--GSN εθνος-N3E-GSN αυτος- D--GSM αναιστημι-VF--FMI3P ου-D κατα-P ο- A--ASF ισχυς-N3--ASF αυτος- D--GSM

23 και-C επι-P εσχατος-A1--GSN ο- A--GSF βασιλεια-N1A-GSF αυτος- D--GPM πληροω-V4--PMPGPM ο- A--GPF αμαρτια-N1A-GPF αυτος- D--GPM αναιστημι-VF--FMI3S βασιλευς-N3V-NSM αναιδης-A3--NSM προσωπον-N2N-DSN διανοεομαι-V2--PMPNSM αινιγμα-N3M-APN

24 και-C στερεοω-VC--FPI3S ο- A--NSF ισχυς-N3--NSF αυτος- D--GSM και-C ου-D εν-P ο- A--DSF ισχυς-N3U-DSF αυτος- D--GSM και-C θαυμαστως-D φθειρω-VF2-FAI3S και-C ευοδοω-VC--FPI3S και-C ποιεω-VF--FAI3S και-C φθειρω-VF2-FAI3S δυναστης-N1M-APM και-C δημος-N2--ASM αγιος-A1A-GPM

25 και-C επι-P ο- A--APM αγιος-A1A-APM ο- A--ASN διανοημα-N3M-ASN αυτος- D--GSM και-C ευοδοω-VC--FPI3S ο- A--ASN ψευδος-N3E-ASN εν-P ο- A--DPF χειρ-N3--DPF αυτος- D--GSM και-C ο- A--NSF καρδια-N1A-NSF αυτος- D--GSM υψοω-VC--FPI3S και-C δολος-N2--DSM απο αναιζω-VF2-FAI3S πολυς-A1P-APM και-C επι-P απωλεια-N1A-GSF ανηρ-N3--GPM ιστημι-VF--FMI3S και-C ποιεω-VF--FAI3S συναγωγη-N1--ASF χειρ-N3--GSF και-C αποδιδωμι-VF--FMI3S

26 ο- A--NSN οραμα-N3M-NSN ο- A--NSN εσπερα-N1A-GSF και-C πρωι-D ευρισκω-VCI-API3S επι-P αληθεια-N1A-GSF και-C νυν-D φρασσω-VK--XMPASN ο- A--ASN οραμα-N3M-ASN ετι-D γαρ-X εις-P ημερα-N1A-APF πολυς-A1--APF

27 εγω- P--NS *δανιηλ-N---NSM ασθενεω-VA--AAPNSM ημερα-N1A-APF πολυς-A1--APF και-C αναιστημι-VH--AAPNSM πραγματευομαι-V1I-IMI1S παλιν-D βασιλικος-A1--APN και-C εκλυω-V1I-IMI1S επι-P ο- A--DSN οραμα-N3M-DSN και-C ουδεις-A3--NSM ειμι-V9I-IAI3S ο- A--NSM διανοεομαι-V2--PMPNSM

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Daniel 8      

By Rev. Dr. Andrew 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.

---

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."

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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.

2Arcana Coelestia 2788, 4119, 5159, 4901 other places cited in one. 3John 8:31,32.

4. Clarke at this reference.

5Apocalypse Explained 717, c{ign20} 316. 6Arcana Coelestia 78,

7. cf. True Christian Religion 537.

8Apocalypse Explained 600.

9Apocalypse Explained 716.

10Heaven and Hell 141.

11Arcana Coelestia 3708. 12Arcana Coelestia 3708.

13Jeremiah 11:19

14Isaiah 40:11

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

16. Cf. Apocalypse Revealed 17.

17Arcana Coelestia 1068, 3671, 10670.

18Arcana Coelestia 585.

19Apocalypse Explained 741:2.

20Arcana Coelestia 4669.

21Apocalypse Explained 741[2].

22Arcana Coelestia 4769.

23Arcana Coelestia 2410, 3895,

24Apocalypse Explained 418.

25Apocalypse Explained 410.

26Arcana Coelestia 3448.

27Arcana Coelestia 4769, 3708.

28Arcana Coelestia 1250, 3249, 3708.

29Daniel 7:7.

30Apocalypse Explained 632, 720.

31Arcana Coelestia 4769, Apocalypse Explained 720.

32. Cf. Apocalypse Explained 573,

33Apocalypse Explained 632.

34Apocalypse Explained 720.

35Apocalypse Explained 179.

36Arcana Coelestia 933.

37Daniel 7:12.

38Arcana Coelestia 22.

39. Cf. Arcana Coelestia 2405.

40Arcana Coelestia 5194.

41Arcana Coelestia 900.

42Daniel 7:16.

43Apocalypse Explained 302.

44Heaven and Hell 52, Arcana Coelestia 8192.

45Arcana Coelestia 8192.

46Arcana Coelestia 2694, 5279.

47Arcana Coelestia 9807.

48Arcana Coelestia 9807.

49. Doctrine about the Lord 28.

50. Cf. True Christian Religion 753ff.

51. Clarke at this chapter.

-----

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 411, 1664, 2832, 10042, 10455

De Verbo (The Word) 5

Faith 63

Heaven and Hell 171

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 179

True Christian Religion 851

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 38


Other references to this chapter:

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

Conjugial Love 26

Divine Providence 134

The Lord 4, 28, 52

Faith 61, 65, 66, 67

The Last Judgment (Continuation) 13

True Christian Religion 157, 537, 764


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 5

De Verbo (The Word) 15

Last Judgment (Posthumous) 220

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  PDF Resources


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Ezekiel 1:28, 2:1, 2, 20:6

Daniel 2:39, 4:10, 5:23, 28, 7:1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 21, 25, 28, 9:21, 10:8, 9, 14, 11:2, 3, 4, 16, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 31, 36, 45, 12:4, 6, 11

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From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #700

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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700. And the ark of his covenant was seen in his temple.- That this signifies Divine Truth, by means of which there is conjunction with the Lord, is evident from the signification of the ark of the covenant, as denoting the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord (of which presently). The ark of the covenant was seen, because the temple appeared; and the ark was in the midst of the temple at Jerusalem, in which were deposited the two tables of the law, which, in the most general sense, signified the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, thus the Lord Himself, who is the Divine Truth in the heavens, and therefore He is also called the Word, in John (i. 1, 2, 14). The reason of this signification of the ark was, that the tent of the assembly represented the three heavens. Its court represented the ultimate or first heaven; the tent itself even to the veil, where the table for the loaves, the altar of incense, and the lampstand were, represented the middle or second heaven; and the ark which was within the veil, upon which was the mercy-seat with the cherubim, represented the inmost or third heaven, while the law itself, which was in the ark, represented the Lord as to Divine Truth, or the Word. And because conjunction with the Lord is by means of the Word, therefore that ark was called the ark of the covenant, covenant signifying conjunction. That the tent or tabernacle represented the form of heaven, and that, together with the court, it represented the three heavens, and that the Holy of Holies, which was the inmost, where the ark was, within which were the tables of the law, represented the third or inmost heaven, and that the law or testimony represented the Lord Himself, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 3478, 9457, 9481, 9485). And that the tabernacle equally as the temple, in the highest sense, signifies the Lord; in the relative sense, heaven and the church, and thus the holy principle of worship, see the same (n. 9457, 9481, 10,242, 10,245, 10,304, 10,545). That covenant, in the Word, signifies conjunction, and that all things pertaining to the church, both internal and external, are signs of the covenant, and that they are called a covenant, because conjunction is effected by means of them may also be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 665, 666, 1023, 1038, 1864, 1996, 2003, 2021, 2037, 6804, 8767, 8778, 9396, 9416, 10,632). That therefore the law promulgated on Mount Sinai was called the covenant, and the ark containing the law, the ark of the covenant may be seen in the same (n. 6804, 9416).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 665-666, 1023, 1038, 1864, 1996, 2003, 2021, 2037, Arcana Coelestia 3478, 6804, 8767, 8778, 9396, 9416, 9457, 9481, Arcana Coelestia 9485, Arcana Coelestia 10242, 10245, 10304, 10545, 10632; John 1:1-2, John 1:14; Revelation 11:19)


[2] That the ark with the covenant, or testimony inclosed, signifies the Lord as to the celestial Divine which is the Divine Truth in the inmost or third heaven, is evident from what has been said concerning the ark in the Word.

In Moses:

"And they shall make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in the midst of them, according to all that I have shewn thee, the form of the dwelling place. Especially they shall make the ark of shittim wood; and thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it; and thou shalt make for it a border of gold; four rings of gold" for the staves. "And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold; and thou shalt make two cherubim of gold, solid shalt thou make them, out of the mercy seat, that the cherubim may stretch out their wings, and cover with their wings the mercy seat; and their faces shall be towards the mercy seat. And thou shalt put the testimony into the ark; and I will meet thee there, and I will speak with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are over the ark of the testimony, of all things that I shall give thee in commandment unto the sons of Israel" (Exod. xxv. 8-22).

"Thou shalt make a veil of purple and crimson, and scarlet double dyed, and fine twined linen, with cherubim; thou shalt put it upon four pillars of shittim overlaid with gold; and thou shalt place the veil under the clasps; and thou shalt bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony, so that the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the holy of holies; and thou shalt put the veil before the ark in the holy of holies" (Exod. xxvi. 31-34).

It was said above, that the tent which contained the ark, the candlestick, the table for the loaves, and the altar for the incense, together with the court, represented the three heavens, and that the place within the veil, where the ark was, which contained the law or testimony, represented the third heaven. This heaven was represented by that place, because the law was there, and the law means the Lord as to Divine Truth, or the Word, for this is what the law signifies in a broad sense, and it is Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord that forms the heavens. This is received in the greatest purity by the angels of the third heaven, because they are in conjunction with the Lord through love to Him; for all the angels in that heaven are in love to the Lord, consequently they see Divine Truth as it were implanted in themselves, although it flows in continually from the Lord. For this reason, that heaven more than the other heavens which are below is said to be in the Lord, because in the Divine that goes forth from Him.

(References: Exodus 25:8-22, Exodus 26:31-34)


[3] This heaven was represented by the ark in which was the law, that is, the Lord. This is why the ark was overlaid with gold, within and without, why the mercy seat was over the ark, and why over the mercy seat and out of it were two cherubim, which were of pure gold; for gold, from correspondence, signifies the good of love, in which are the angels of the third heaven. The mercy seat signified the hearing and reception of all things of that worship which is from the good of love from the Lord; and the cherubim signified the Lord's providence and protection that He may not be approached except through the good of love. And this heaven with its angels is a protection against any thing being raised up to the Lord Himself except that which proceeds from the good of love to Him and from Him. For all worship of God passes through the heavens even unto the Lord, and is purified on its way, even until it reaches the third heaven, and there it is heard and received by the Lord, everything impure having been removed on the way. This is why cherubim of gold were placed over the mercy seat, which was over the ark; also why that place was called the sanctuary, and also the holy of holies, and was divided from the outer part of the tabernacle by the veil.

[4] That the tent, together with the court, represented the three heavens, is also evident from this fact, that all things instituted among the sons of Israel were representatives of heavenly things. For the church itself was a representative church. Thus the tabernacle, together with the altar, was in an especial manner a most holy [representative] of worship. For worship was celebrated upon the altar by burnt offerings and sacrifices, and in the tabernacle by incense offerings and by the lamps which were lighted every day, and by the loaves which were placed in order daily upon the table. All these things represented all worship in heaven, and in the church, and the tent itself with the ark represented the heavens themselves. For this reason the tabernacle was called the dwelling place of Jehovah God, as heaven itself is also called. That the heavens were represented by the tabernacle is also evident from this, that its form was shown to Moses by the Lord upon Mount Sinai; and that which is shown in form by the Lord must necessarily represent either heaven or the things belonging to heaven. That the form of the tabernacle was shown to Moses upon Mount Sinai is clear from these words spoken to Moses:

"Let them make for me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in the midst of them, according to all that I have shown thee, the form of the dwelling place;" and afterwards," See and make them in their form, which thou wast made to see in the mount" (Exod. xxv. 8, 9, 40).

This is why it is called the sanctuary, and it is said, "That I may dwell in the midst of them." This is what is signified in particular in regard to the ark, the mercy seat over it, and the cherubim over the mercy seat the border of gold round about the ark, the four rings for the staves, the veil, the clasps, and the rest, all of which may be seen explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 9484-9577, 9670-9680).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9484-9577, Arcana Coelestia 9670-9680; Exodus 25:8-9, Exodus 25:40)


[5] The very holiness of the whole tabernacle was from the testimony, that is, from the two tables of stone on which the law was inscribed, because the law signified the Lord as to Divine Truth, and thus as to the Word, for this is Divine Truth. That the Lord is the Word, is evident in John, where it is said,

"The Word was with God and God was the Word, and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us" (i. 1, 2, 14).

That the law which is called both the testimony and the covenant was placed in the ark, and also the book written by Moses is clear from these words:

"Thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee" (Exod. xxv. 16; xl. 20):

"I put the tables of the law in the ark which I had made that they might be there, even as Jehovah had commanded me" (Deut. x. 5).

And of the book of the law written by Moses:

"When Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in the book, even when he had finished them, Moses commanded the Levites that bare the ark" to take the book of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant that it might be there for a witness (Deut. xxxi. 24, 25, 26).

From this it is plain that there was nothing within the ark but the two tables of stone, on which the law was written, and that the book of Moses was by the side of it. That there was nothing in the ark but the two tables of the covenant is evident from the First Book of Kings:

"There was nothing in the ark, but the two tables of stone, which Moses put there in Horeb, the covenant which Jehovah made with the sons of Israel" (viii. 9).

That the book of Moses, which was laid by the side of the ark, was afterwards taken out, and preserved in the temple, is evident from the fact that Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah and gave it to Shaphan, who told the king of it, and read it before the king (2 Kings xxii. 8-11).

(References: 1 Kings 8:9; 2 Kings 22:8-11; Deuteronomy 10:5, 31:24-26; Exodus 25:16, Exodus 40:20; John 1:1-2, John 1:14)


[6] That the ark represented the Lord as to Divine truth, and that it consequently signified Divine Truth from the Lord, thus the Word, is also evident from this, that the Lord spoke with Moses from it. For it is said,

"Thou shalt put the testimony into the ark, and I will meet thee there, and I will speak with thee from between the two cherubim, which are over the ark of the testimony, of all things that I shall give thee in commandment unto the sons of Israel" (Exod. xxv. 21, 22).

And elsewhere,

"When Moses entered into the Tent of meeting to speak with him, he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from above the mercy seat, which was over the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; thus he spake unto him" (Numb. vii. 89).

The Lord spoke to Moses therefrom, because the law was there, and the law, in a broad sense, signifies the Lord as to the Word; and from the Word the Lord speaks with man. It was from above the mercy seat between the two cherubim, because the mercy seat signifies the removal of falsities that are from evil loves, and at the same time reception and hearing, while the cherubim signify protection, lest He should be approached except through the good of love.

(References: 2 Kings 22:8-11; Exodus 25:21-22; Numbers 7:89)


[7] Since the Lord, in heaven and in the church, is the Divine Truth, or the Word, which is meant by the law inclosed in the ark, and since the presence of the Lord is in the law, or the Word, therefore, where the ark was, there was Jehovah or the Lord, as is evident from these words in Moses:

"Moses said" unto Hobab "Leave us not, I pray, forasmuch as thou knowest how we must encamp in the wilderness, whence thou wilt be to us instead of eyes and it shall be when thou shalt go with us, yea, it shall be that the good which Jehovah shall do to us, we will also do to thee. And they went forward from the mount of Jehovah a journey of three days, and the ark of the covenant of Jehovah went before them a journey of three days to seek out a resting place for them; and the cloud of Jehovah was over them by day, when they went forward out of the camp. When the ark went forward, Moses said, Arise Jehovah, that thine enemies may be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee from before thy faces; and when it rested, he said, Return, Jehovah, the myriads of the thousands of Israel" (Numb. x. 31-36).

From these particulars it is evident that Jehovah or the Lord is there meant by the ark, because of His presence in the law, which was in the ark, thus because of His presence in the Word. Since the Lord is there meant by the law, and thus by the ark, Moses said, "Arise, Jehovah, that Thine enemies may be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee from before Thy faces;" and when it rested, he said, "Return Jehovah, the myriads of the thousands of Israel." But the same words involve things still more interior; namely, that the Lord, by means of His Divine Truth, leads men and defends them against falsities and evils, which are from hell, especially in temptations, which are specifically signified by the journeyings of the sons of Israel in the wilderness during forty years. That He leads them continually by means of His Divine Truth is signified by the ark of the covenant of Jehovah going forward before them a journey of three days to seek out a resting place for them. The ark of Jehovah means the Lord as to Divine Truth; its going forward a journey of three days means, His protection and guidance from beginning to end; and seeking out signifies salvation, which is the end.

(References: Numbers 10:31-36)


[8] Moreover protection from falsities and evils, which are from hell, is signified by the cloud of Jehovah over them by day, as well as by the Words of Moses when the ark went forward, "Arise, Jehovah, that Thine enemies may be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee from before Thy faces." The cloud of Jehovah by day signifies defence by means of Divine Truth in ultimates, such as the Word is in the sense of the letter; for by means of this the Lord may be approached even by the evil, and by means of it He guards the interior things of the Word, which are celestial and spiritual. That this sense of the word is signified by a cloud, may be seen above (n. 594). Enemies and them that hate signify falsities and evils, which are from hell, enemies falsities, and them that hate evils, thus they also signify the hells themselves as to falsities and evils. Truths from good, which are implanted in man after temptations, are signified by Moses saying when the ark rested, "Return, Jehovah, the myriads of the thousands of Israel." The resting of the ark signifies the state after temptations, when evils and falsities are removed; to return signifies the Lord's presence at that time, for in temptations the Lord appears to be absent, and the myriads of the thousands of Israel signify truths from good implanted, which constitute the church. That myriads are predicated of truths, and thousands, of goods, may be seen above (n. 336).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 336, The Apocalypse Explained 594)


[9] Similar things are signified by these words in David:

"Lo, we heard of him in Ephratah, we found him in the fields of the wood; we will enter into his habitations, we will bow ourselves down at his footstool. Arise, Jehovah, to thy rest, thou and the ark of thy strength; let thy priests be clothed with justice, and let thy saints shout for joy" (Psalm cxxxii, 6-9).

This Psalm evidently treats of the Lord, who is also meant there by David, as is evident from the words, "We have found Him in Ephratah and in the fields of the wood," and from their bowing themselves down at His footstool, Ephratah meaning Bethlehem, where the Lord was born, and by Ephratah is signified the Word as to its natural sense, and by Bethlehem the Word as to the spiritual sense. He chose to be born there because the Lord is the Word. The fields of the wood signify the things of the natural sense of the Word, that is, of the letter, while His habitations signify the spiritual sense of the Word, and therefore also heaven, since heaven is in that sense. The footstool to which they shall bow themselves down signifies the natural sense of the Word, and thus also the church on earth, because the church is in that sense. That the footstool of the Lord is the church on earth, may be seen above (n. 606).

(References: Psalms 132:6-9, 132:6-10; The Apocalypse Explained 606)


[10] The rest to which Jehovah should arise signifies the union of the Divine and Human in the Lord, and His conjunction with heaven and the church. And because the Lord, and those also who are in heaven and in the church have rest and peace, when He has subjugated the hells and brought all things there and in the heavens into order, it is said, "Arise, Thou and the ark of Thy strength," Thou meaning the Lord Himself, and the ark of Thy strength, the Divine Truth proceeding from Him, for it is by means of this that the Lord has Divine Power. The priests who shall be clothed with justice, and the saints who shall shout for joy, have a similar signification to the thousands and myriads of Israel, priests meaning those who are in good, and saints, those who are in truths, thus, in an abstract sense, the goods and truths of heaven and of the church. That priests, in an abstract sense, signify the goods of the church, may be seen above (n. 31:8), and that saints, in that sense, signify the truths of the church, also above (n. 204, 325). More about that Psalm may also be seen above (n. 684:25).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 31, 204, The Apocalypse Explained 325, The Apocalypse Explained 684)


[11] Since the ark, from the law which was in it, signified the Lord as to Divine Truth, and because the Lord has omnipotence from Divine Good by means of Divine Truth, therefore by means of the ark miracles were performed. Thus the waters of Jordan were divided by it, so that the sons of Israel passed over on dry ground; the wall of the city of Jericho was over-thrown; Dagon, the god of the Ashdodites, fell down before it; the Ashdodites, the Gittites, the Ekronites, and Bethshemites were smitten with plagues on account of it; Uzzah died because he touched it, and Obed-edom, into whose house it was taken, was blessed. As these historical circumstances involve interior truths (arcana) which become plain only by means of their spiritual sense, I will explain them in order that it may be known what the ark signifies in a strict and in a broad sense.

First, concerning the dividing of the waters of Jordan so that the sons of Israel might pass over on dry ground, in Joshua. Joshua and all the sons of Israel "came unto Jordan; and at the end of three days" Joshua "commanded, saying, When ye shall see the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and the priests the Levites bearing it, ye shall also remove from your place and shall go after it, yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits; ye shall not approach unto it," And the priests "took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people;" and Joshua said, "When ye shall come to the brink of the waters of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan." And he said unto the people, "Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of the whole earth passing over before you into Jordan; and take ye twelve men of the tribes of Israel; and when the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of Jehovah the Lord of the whole earth shall rest in the waters of Jordan, the waters of Jordan shall be cut off, and the waters that come down from above shall stand in a heap. And it came to pass when the priests came unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bear the ark were dipped in the brink of the waters, and Jordan was full, as it was wont to be all the days of harvest, the waters that came down from above stood in a heap, stretching out very far from the city Adam; and those that came down upon the sea of the plain, the sea of salt, were completely cut off, so that the people could pass over towards Jericho. And the priests stood on dry ground in the midst of Jordan; and all the people passed over on dry ground. Afterwards Jehovah said unto Joshua, Take to you twelve men, one of a tribe, and take out of the midst of Jordan, from where the feet of the priests stood, twelve stones, which ye shall bring over with you, and leave in the place where ye pass the night. The sons of Israel did so; and they took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, and they carried them unto the place where they passed the night. Then, after that all the people had finished passing over, the ark of Jehovah passed over, and the priests. And it came to pass, when the priests were come up, and the soles of their feet were lifted up [out of Jordan], the waters of Jordan returned unto their place. And the twelve stones which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua set up in Gilgal" (Josh. iii. 1-17; iv. 1-20). All the historical, equally as the prophetical parts of the Word, contain a spiritual sense, which treats not of the sons of Israel and of nations and peoples, but of the church and its establishment and progress, for this is the Spiritual of the Word, while the history is the Natural that contains the Spiritual. Therefore also all the miracles described in the Word, as the miracles performed in Egypt, and afterwards in the land of Canaan, involve such things as pertain to heaven and the church, and for this reason those miracles are Divine.

(References: Joshua 3, 4:1-20)


[12] The miracle described above signifies the introduction of the faithful into the church, and through the church into heaven. The sons of Israel, in the spiritual sense, mean there the faith, who, after enduring temptations - which are signified by their wanderings in the wilderness - are brought into the church; for the land of Canaan, into which the sons of Israel were brought, signifies the church; Jordan signifies the first entrance into it. The waters of Jordan signify introductory truths, and these truths are such as those of the literal sense of the Word, for these are the truths that first introduce; but here by Jordan and its waters are signified the falsities of evil which lead to hell, because the land of Canaan was then filled with idolatrous nations, which signify the evils and falsities of every kind that constitute hell; for this reason also they had to be driven out in order that there might be a place for establishing the church. And because the waters of Jordan then signified the falsities of evil, therefore they were divided and kept back in order that a passage might be given to the sons of Israel, who, were to represent the church.

[13] Now as the Lord alone removes and disperses the falsities of evil which are from hell, and by means of His Divine truths brings the faithful into the church, and into heaven, and because the ark, and the law inclosed in it represented the Lord as to Divine Truth, it was therefore commanded that the ark should go before the people and thus lead them. For this reason it came to pass, that as soon as the priests who bore the ark dipped their feet in the waters of Jordan, those waters were divided and descended, and the people passed over on dry land, and that after this was done the waters returned. Those same waters then signified introductory truths; for Jordan was the first boundary of the land of Canaan, and that land, after the sons of Israel had entered into it, represented the church, and the river, introduction into it.

[14] Since the waters of Jordan signified introductory truths, they were therefore commanded to take up out of the midst of it twelve stones, and carry them over to the first place where they should pass the night, for the reason that stones signify truths, while twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, signified the truths of the church. Joshua set up those stones in Gilgal from the east of Jericho, because Gilgal signified the doctrine of natural truth, which is serviceable for introduction into the church. From these few things it is evident what things pertaining to heaven and the church were represented by this miracle, and that the ark, because of the law in it, signified the Lord as to Divine Truth. It is therefore also called the ark of the covenant of the Lord of the whole earth, from conjunction with the Lord by means of Divine Truth, for by its means conjunction, which is signified by covenant, is effected, and it is this that constitutes heaven and the church, which are specifically signified by the whole earth. In fact by means of Divine Truth all things were created and made, according to the Lord's words in John (i. 1-3, 10); and in David (Psalm xxxiii. 6), the Word there meaning Divine Truth.

(References: John 1:1-3, John 1:10; Psalms 33:6)


[15] The SECOND miracle performed by means of the ark was the falling down of the wall of Jericho, which is thus described in Joshua:

The city "of Jericho was shut up; and Jehovah said unto Joshua, I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty in strength; ye shall compass the city, all the men of war, once a day for six days. And seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rejoicings before the ark; but the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall sound with the trumpets, and then the people shall shout with a great shouting, and the wall of the city shall fall down under itself, and the people shall go up." Then Joshua made them compass the city once on the first day, as was said; after which circuit they returned into the camp, and passed the night in the camp; in like manner the day after. "And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rejoicings before the ark of Jehovah, went on, going and sounding the trumpets, before whom went the men of war, and also the rear company marching after the ark, going and sounding the trumpets. And so they did six days; and on the seventh day they went about the city seven times, and the seventh time the people shouted; and when the people heard this, then the wall of the city fell down under itself, and the people went up into the city, and gave to the curse all things which were in the city, from male even to female, and from a boy to an old man; and they burned the city with fire, and all things that were in it; only the silver and gold, and the vessels of brass and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of Jehovah. And Joshua charged them with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man before Jehovah, who shall rise up and build this city; with his first born he shall lay the foundations of it, and with the youngest he shall set up its gates" (Joshua vi. 1-26).

No one can know the Divine meaning of this miracle, unless he knows what is signified by the city of Jericho in the land of Canaan, which was burned, by its wall which fell down, by the inhabitants who were given to the curse, by the gold and silver, and vessels of brass and iron, which were put into the treasury of the house of Jehovah, also what is signified by sounding the trumpets and shouting, and by going about it six days, and seven times on the seventh day.

The city of Jericho signifies instruction in the knowledges (cognitiones) of good and truth, by which man is brought into the church. For Jericho was a city not far from the Jordan, and this river signifies introduction into the church, as was shown above. For all the places in the land of Canaan were significative of celestial and spiritual things pertaining to the church, and this from the most ancient times. And because the sons of Israel were to represent the church, and the Word was to be written among them, in which those places, signifying such things as belong to heaven and the church, were to be mentioned, therefore the sons of Israel were introduced into it. The river Jordan signified that introduction, and Jericho instruction. And as Jericho signified instruction, it also signified the good of life, for none but those who are in the good of life can be instructed in truths of doctrine. But when the land of Canaan was held by idolatrous nations, the signification of the places and cities in that land was changed into its opposite, and therefore Jericho then signified the profanation of truth and good. From this it follows, that the city itself signified the doctrine of falsity and evil, which perverted and profaned the truths and goods of the church, that its wall signified the falsities of evil defending that doctrine, and that the inhabitants signified those who are profane. And as all profanation is from infernal love after acknowledgment of truth and good, therefore the city was burned with fire, the inhabitants given to the curse, and its wall overthrown, fire signifying infernal love, curse an utter blotting out, and the falling down of the wall, exposure to every evil and falsity.

(References: Joshua 6:1-26)


[16] The sounding of the trumpets by the priests signified the preaching of Divine Truth from Divine Good; the shouting and acclamation of the people signified consent and confirmation; compassing the city signified an examination of falsity and evil, and their dispersion by the influx of Divine Truth from the Lord, this influx being signified by their carrying the ark about it. The priests were seven in number, and compassed the city seven days, and seven times on the seventh day, to signify what is holy, and the holy proclamation of Divine Truth; for seven signifies what is holy, and, in the opposite sense, what is profane, therefore, as holiness was on the one part, and what was profane on the other, there were seven priests with seven trumpets, and they compassed the city seven times.

[17] The gold, the silver, and vessels of brass and iron, were put into the treasury of the house of Jehovah, because they signified the knowledges of spiritual and natural truth and good, gold and silver the knowledges of spiritual truth and good, and vessels of brass and iron the knowledges of natural truth and good, which are changed into dire falsities and evils, with those who are guilty of profanation, but as they are still knowledges although applied to evils, yet they are serviceable to the good by application to goods, therefore these things were put into the treasury of the house of Jehovah. This also is what is meant by the pounds (minoe) which were taken away from the evil, and given to the good; by the unjust mammon, by the gold, silver, and raiment, which the sons of Israel took away from the Egyptians, and afterwards devoted to the tabernacle; and also by the gold and silver which David gathered from the spoils of the enemy, and left to Solomon for building the temple.

(References: Luke 16:9, 16:19)


[18] That he who rebuilt Jericho should be cursed, and that he should lay the foundation of it with his first-born, and with his youngest set up the gates, signified the profanation of Divine Truth from first to last, if instruction in it were represented elsewhere than in Jerusalem, which signified the church as to the doctrine of truth and good, and as to instruction from the Word. That this profanation took place under king Ahab by Hiel the Bethelite, is recorded in the First Book of Kings (xvi. 34); and it is said of this king that he did evil in the eyes of Jehovah above all the kings of Israel (verses 30, 33). From this miracle performed by means of the ark, it is also evident that the ark, because of the law in it, represented the Lord as to Divine Truth, and thus signified Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord.

(References: 1 Kings 16:30, 16:33, 16:34)


[19] The THIRD miracle, that Dagon, the god of the Ashdodites, fell before the ark, and the Ashdodites, Gittites, Ekronites, and Bethshemites were smitten with plagues because of it, is thus described in the First Book of Samuel:

"Israel went out against the Philistines to war; and Israel was smitten before the Philistines about four thousand men. Therefore the elders said, Let us receive unto us out of Shiloh the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and let it come into the midst of us, and deliver us out of the hand of the enemy. And they brought down the ark of the covenant of Jehovah Zebaoth that sitteth upon the cherubim, and with the ark the two sons of Eli. And it came to pass, when the ark came to the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shouting; the Philistines heard and knew that the ark of Jehovah was come to the camp, and they feared for themselves, saying God is come to the camp; woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hands of these mighty gods? These are the gods who smote the Egyptians with every plague. But be strong and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye may not serve the Hebrews. And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten with a great slaughter, about thirty thousand footmen; and the ark of God was taken, and both the sons of Eli died. And the Philistines took the ark, and brought it down to Ashdod, into the house of Dagon, and they set it near Dagon. When they of Ashdod arose in the morning, behold, Dagon lay upon his faces on the earth before the ark of Jehovah; and they set up Dagon again; but when they arose the next morning, Dagon lay upon his faces on the earth before the ark, and at the same time the head of Dagon and the two palms of his hands lay cut off upon the threshold. And the hand of Jehovah was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he smote them with hemorrhoids, Ashdod, and the borders thereof. Then they of Ashdod said, The ark of Israel shall not remain with us; wherefore the lords of the Philistines said, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried over unto Gath." And they carried it over unto Gath; but the hand of Jehovah came against the city, and smote the men of the city from the least to the greatest, while they had hardened hemorrhoids. Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron; but the Ekronites cried out that it would slay them. "And the men that died not were smitten with hemorrhoids." Therefore the lords said that they would send back the ark unto its place. "When the ark had remained in the land of the Philistines seven months, the Philistines called the priests and diviners, saying, What shall we do with the ark of Jehovah, how shall we send it back to its place? And they said, Send it not again empty, but send with it a trespass-offering, then shall ye be healed, namely, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, five hemorrhoids of gold, and five mice of gold, for one plague is upon you all, and upon your lords; ye shall make images of your hemorrhoids, and images of your mice, which vastated the land; and make a new cart, and take two milch kine upon which no yoke hath come, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them, and put the ark of Jehovah upon the cart, and the vessels of gold put into a coffer at the side thereof; and see if it go up the way of the coast to Bethshemesh; and they did so. Then the kine went in a straight way upon the way to Bethshemesh in one path, and they lowed; and the lords of the Philistines went after them. And the cart came into the field of Joshua the Bethshemite, and stood there where there was a great stone. Then they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine for a burnt-offering to Jehovah. And the Levites set down the ark of Jehovah, and the coffer in which were the vessels of gold, upon that great stone, and the men of Bethshemesh offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed sacrifices to Jehovah;" but the Bethshemites were smitten, because they saw the ark of Jehovah, to the number of fifty thousand and seventy men. But the men of Kirjathjearim caused the ark of Jehovah to come up, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in Gibeah, and it remained there twenty years. Then Samuel said, "If with the whole heart ye will return to Jehovah, put ye away the gods of the stranger and Ashtaroth, and prepare your heart towards Jehovah, and serve him alone, then shall he deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines" (iv. 1-11; v. 1-12; vi. 1-21; vii. 1-3).

What is signified by these things - that the ark was taken by the Philistines, that the Philistines were smitten with hemorrhoids on account of the ark in Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron, also that mice laid waste their land and that so many died there and in Bethshemesh - cannot be known, unless it is known what the Philistines, and specifically the Ashdodites, Gittites, Ekronites, and Bethshemites represented, and thus signified also what is signified by the hemorrhoids and by the mice, and by the golden images of these, and moreover by the new cart and the milch kine. That these are representative of such things as pertain to the church is clear, for if not, why should the Philistines have been smitten with such plagues, and the ark have been thus brought back?

(References: 1 Samuel 4:1-11, 5, 6, 7:1-3)


[20] The Philistines represented, and thus signified, those who make no account of the good of love and of charity, and thus no account of the good of life, placing everything of religion in knowledge and cognition (scientia et cognitio); therefore they were like those at the present day who make faith alone, that is, faith separated from charity, the essential of the church and the essential of salvation. For this reason they were called the uncircumcised, for to be uncircumcised signifies to be void of spiritual love, consequently of good; and whereas they had reference to those within the church, therefore they were not spiritual, but merely natural. For he who makes no account of the good of charity and of life becomes merely natural, indeed, sensual, loving only worldly things, and is unable to understand any truths spiritually; the truths which he does apprehend naturally he either falsifies or defiles.

Such are those who are meant in the Word by the Philistines. The reason why the Philistines so often fought with the sons of Israel, and why sometimes the Philistines conquered, and sometimes the sons of Israel, is therefore plain. The Philistines conquered when the sons of Israel departed from their statutes and precepts by not keeping them, and the sons of Israel conquered when they lived according to them; to live according to the precepts and statutes was their good of love and good of life. The sons of Israel were at that time conquered by the Philistines because they turned from the worship of Jehovah to the worship of other gods, and especially to the worship of Ashtaroth, as is evident from what Samuel said to them (1 Sam. vii. 3). This was the cause also of the ark being taken by the Philistines.

(References: 1 Samuel 7:3)


[21] When it is known that the Philistines represented, and thus signified, those who make no account of the good of love, of charity, and of life, it can be known why they were smitten with hemorrhoids because of the ark, and died in consequence, also, why the mice laid waste their land, hemorrhoids signifying truth defiled by such evil of life, as those are in who are destitute of good; for blood signifies truth, and the corrupt matter of the hemorrhoids truth defiled, and the hinder part, where the hemorrhoids were, signifies natural love, which, with those who are not spiritual, is the love of the world; while mice signify the falsities of the sensual man, which eat up and consume all things of the church, as mice [lay waste] the fields and crops, and also eat up and consume vegetables in the earth. They suffered such plagues because they were of such a nature; for those who are without good defile truths, and also lay waste all things of the church.

These things took place on account of the ark, because the ark signified Divine Truth which proceeds from the Lord, and this can be genuine only with those who are in the good of love, and thus in the good of life. And when the Divine Truth flows in with those who are not in good, it produces effects corresponding to the falsity of their doctrine and the evils of their life, similar to that which takes place in the spiritual world, when Divine Truth flows in with such persons; the defilement of truth and the devastation of good then appear under the similitude of hemorrhoids and mice.

[22] Dagon the god of the Ashdodites, on account of the nearness and presence of the ark, was cast down to the earth, and afterwards his head and the palms of his hands were cast upon the threshold of his house, because Dagon signified their religion, which being without spiritual good, possessed neither intelligence nor power; for the head signifies intelligence, and the palms of the hands signify power. A similar effect follows in the spiritual world, when Divine Truth flows in out of heaven with such persons, for they then appear to have neither head nor palms of the hands, because they have neither intelligence nor power.

[23] By the advice of their priests and diviners, they made golden images of the hemorrhoids and mice, and set them at the side of the ark upon a new cart, and to this they tied two milch kine upon which no yoke had yet come, because gold signifies the good of love healing and purifying from the falsities and evils which are signified by hemorrhoids and mice, and because a cart signifies the doctrine of natural truth, and a new cart, the same doctrine unharmed and undefiled by the falsities of their evil. The milch kine, upon which there had yet been no yoke, signified natural good not yet defiled by falsities, for to bear a yoke signifies to serve, and in this case to serve falsities which defile good; and as such good is in harmony with Divine Truth, signified by the ark, therefore these representatives were adopted and applied; and afterwards the Levites offered the kine as a burnt-offering, which they burned with the wood of the cart.

[24] The ark with the gifts was placed upon a great stone, near which the kine stood still, because a stone signifies Divine Truth in the ultimate of order. All this was done by the advice of the priests and diviners of the Philistines, because a knowledge (scientia) of correspondences and representations was common knowledge at that time, for it was their theology, known to the priests and diviners, who were their wise men. But since men at that time had for the most part become merely natural, they regarded those things in an idolatrous manner, worshipping externals, and giving no thought to the internals which the externals represented. From these observations it is evident what the particulars quoted above from the book of Samuel connectedly signify, and that the ark, from the law in it, signifies Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord.

[25] FOURTHLY, the two miracles performed by means of the ark - the death of Uzzah and the blessing of Obed-edom - are thus described in the second Book of Samuel:

"David arose and departed, and all the people that were with him, from Baal of Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God, whose name is invoked, the name of Jehovah Zebaoth that sitteth upon the cherubim over it, and they caused the ark of God to be carried upon a new chariot, and they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which is in Gibeah, and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the chariot. And David and all the house of Israel were playing before Jehovah, upon all kinds [of instruments made] of fir wood, and upon harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with dulcimers, and with cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nachon, Uzzah put forth [his hand] to the ark, and took hold of it, because the oxen stumbled; and the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Uzzah, and God smote him for his error, so that he died there by the ark of God. And David was grieved at it, and David feared Jehovah that day, saying, How shall the ark of Jehovah come unto me? And David would not remove the ark of Jehovah unto him in the city of David, but he carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. When the ark of Jehovah had remained in his house three months, Jehovah also blessed Obed-edom and all his house; and this was told to king David, and David went, and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with joy. And when they that bare the ark of Jehovah had gone forward six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling; and David danced with all his might before Jehovah, girt with a linen ephod. And David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of Jehovah with a shout and with the sound of a trumpet, and they brought the ark of Jehovah "into the city of David, which is Zion, and set it up in its place within the tent that David had spread for it" (vi. 2-17).

These historical details, in the internal or spiritual sense, involve many things that cannot be seen in the sense of the letter, which is the historical sense - as what is involved in the fact that the ark was brought from the house of Abinadab into the house of Obed-edom, and at length into the city of David, which is Zion; in the fact that when it was being brought, they played upon and caused to sound all kinds of musical instruments, and that David himself danced; also that the ark was brought upon a new chariot, to which oxen were tied; also that Uzzah, the son of Abinadab, died, and Obed-edom with his house was blessed. All these things, although historical, contain in their bosom such things as pertain to heaven and the church, in the same way as the ark itself, which, because of the law in it, represented the Lord as to Divine Truth, and therefore was called the ark of God, whose name is invoked, the name of Jehovah Zebaoth that sitteth upon the cherubim. That the ark was now brought out of the house of Abinadab, first into the house of Obed-edom, and at length into the city of David, which is Zion, is a fact involving interior truths (arcana) which no one can know unless he learns what was signified there by Gibeah, and by Baal of Judah, where Abinadab was, and by Gath, where Obed-edom was, and lastly by Zion, where David was.

All parts of the land of Canaan with their cities were representative, as is the case in the spiritual world with the regions there, and their cities. In every region, and in every city in the spiritual world, those who are in the good of love dwell towards the east and the west, those who are in clear good of love towards the east, and those who are in obscure good of love towards the west; while towards the south and north, dwell those who are in the light of truth; those who are in clear light of truth towards the south, and those who are in obscure light of truth towards the north. The case was similar in the land of Canaan, in its districts and their cities; these with respect to their quarters, corresponded to the regions of the spiritual world, and to the cities of those regions, but with this difference, that it is impossible to distribute men on earth into quarters according to the good of love, and to the light of truth, as is done with spirits and angels in the spiritual world, therefore in the land of Canaan and its cities the places themselves were representative, and not persons.

That this was so is evident from the partition of the land of Canaan into inheritances, which fell by lot to the tribes according to their representation of the church; also from Jerusalem and Zion which represented the church itself, Jerusalem the church as to the truth of doctrine, and Zion the church as to the good of love. When therefore it is known what that is pertaining to heaven and the church which is specially signified by Gibeah, by Baal of Judah, where Abinadab was, and by Gath where Obed-edom was, the signification of the ark being brought from Abinadab to Obed-edom, and at length into Zion, can be known.

(References: 2 Samuel 6:1-17, 2 Samuel 6:2-17)


[26] It is evident from the signification of those cities, that the carrying up of the ark represented the progress of the church in man, from its ultimate to its inmost, as from one heaven into another, even to the highest, which is the third heaven. Baal of Judah, where Abinadab was, signified the ultimate of the church, which is called its Natural, for this was represented by Gibeah, where Baal of Judah was; but Gath, where Obed-edom was, who was thence called a Gittite, signified the Spiritual of the church, and it took on this signification after the sons of Israel had taken the cities from the Philistines, from Ekron even to Gath (1 Sam, vii. 13-15); while Zion, where David dwelt, signified the inmost of the church, which is called its Celestial.

(References: 1 Samuel 7:13-15)


[27] It is evident from these things that the carrying up of the ark signified the progress of the church in man from its ultimate to its inmost, and this because those progressions are effected by means of the Divine Truth, signified by the ark; for the man of the church advances from the Natural to the Spiritual, and through this to the Celestial, and this continually from the Lord by means of His Divine Truth, the Natural being the good of life, the Spiritual the good of charity towards the neighbour, and the Celestial the good of love to the Lord. The goods of the three heavens advance in a similar manner, and therefore also the ascent through them in their order was also represented.

[28] Their playing upon and causing all kinds of musical instruments to sound, when the ark was being brought, and David dancing, represented the gladness and joy which result from the affection for truth and good from the Lord through the influx of the Divine Truth, signified by the ark. The instruments mentioned, on which they played on the first journey from the house of Abinadab to the house of Obed-edom, represented gladness of mind resulting from natural and spiritual affection for truth, while the dancing of David, and also the shouting and the sound of the trumpet, represented joy of heart resulting from affection for spiritual and celestial good. Harmonies of musical sounds are from the spiritual world, and signify affections with their gladness and joys, as may be seen above (n. 323, 326). Zion signifies the third heaven, and thus the inmost of the church, as may also be seen above (n. 405).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 323, The Apocalypse Explained 326, The Apocalypse Explained 405)


[29] The ark brought upon a new chariot, to which oxen were tied, represented, and thus signified, the doctrine of truth from the good of love, the chariot signifying the doctrine of truth, and the oxen the good of love, both in the natural man; for Divine Truth, signified by the ark, rests and is founded upon the doctrine of natural truth which is from good.

It was for this reason that the ark was placed upon a chariot, with oxen before the chariot. That a chariot signifies the doctrine of truth, may be seen above (n. 355); and that an ox signifies natural good, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 2180, 2566).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2180, 2566; The Apocalypse Explained 355)


[30] The reason why Uzzah, the son of Abinadab, died because he took hold of the ark with his hand, is that to touch with the hand signifies communication, and communication with the Lord takes place by means of the good of love; and Uzzah was not anointed, as the priests and Levites were, who received the representation of the good of love by means of anointing; that this was the case, see above (n. 375). Moreover the cherubim, that were over the mercy-seat which was over the ark, signified protection lest the Lord should be approached except through the good of love. That this was done, in order that David might not bring the ark into Zion before the progression - which was also represented - was finished (of which just above) is clear from this, that David was grieved at the death of Uzzah, and feared to bring the ark into Zion, his own city (verses 8-10).

(References: 2 Samuel 6:8-10; The Apocalypse Explained 375)


[31] Obed-edom was blessed, and his house, on account of the ark, because to be blessed with the good things of the world signifies to be blessed with the good things of heaven, which proceed solely from the Lord by the reception of Divine Truth represented by the ark; these good things are given to those who are in spiritual good, which Obed-edom in Gath represented, as stated above.

(References: 2 Samuel 6:8-10)


[32] Lastly, the bringing of the ark into Zion, and into the tent which had been spread out for it by David, signified ascent into the third heaven, and the conjunction of Divine Truth with the good of love; for Zion represented the inmost of the church, and thus the inmost of the heavens, which is the highest or third heaven, where the angels are in the good of love to the Lord, and where there is a protection lest the Lord should be approached except through the good of love; this protection is represented by the cherubim over the ark.

[33] The bringing of the ark into the inmost part of the temple built by Solomon has a similar signification. This circumstance is thus described in the First Book of Kings:

Solomon "prepared the adytum (or oracle) in the midst of the house, to place in it the ark of the covenant of Jehovah; and he made in the adytum two cherubim of the wood of oil, and set them in the midst of the inner house, so that their wings were stretched out to the wall on each side, and their wings touched each other in the midst of the house and he overlaid the cherubim with gold." And Solomon brought up "the ark of the covenant of Jehovah from the city of David, which is Zion. And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests carried the ark, and brought up the ark of Jehovah, and the tent of meeting, and all the vessels of holiness that were in the tent; and Solomon and all the congregation with him before the ark. And the priests brought the ark of the covenant of Jehovah into its place, into the adytum (or oracle) of the house, into the holy of holies, even under the wings of the cherubim; for the cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim covered the ark and the staves thereof from above, and the heads of the staves were seen from the holy place, towards the faces of the adytum (or oracle), but they were not seen without." And Solomon said, "I have appointed there the place of the ark, wherein is the covenant of Jehovah, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt" (vi. 19, 23, 27; viii. 1-8, 21).

As the ark in the tent of meeting represented the third heaven where the Lord is, and the tent itself without the veil, the second heaven, and the court the first heaven, so also was this the case with the temple; for the temple with its courts represented the three heavens. Therefore there was nothing in the temple, or outside of the temple where the courts were, that did not represent something of heaven, and this because the Lord at that time was present in representatives; for the churches which were before the Lord's coming were representative churches, and became finally of such a character as the church instituted among the sons of Israel. But when the Lord came into the world, then external representatives were abolished, because it was the Lord Himself whom the representatives of the church shadowed forth and signified; and since these were external things, and as it were coverings, within which was the Lord, therefore these coverings were taken away when He came, and He himself became manifest together with heaven and the church, in which the Lord is the all in all. The chief representatives of the Lord, and thence of heaven and the church, were the tent of meeting, and in it the table, the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the ark, also the altar with the burnt-offerings and sacrifices, and afterwards the temple, the temple having the same representation as the tent of meeting, with this difference, that the tent of meeting was a more holy representative of the Lord, of heaven, and of the church, than the temple.

(References: 1 Kings 6:19, 6:23, 6:27-28, 8:1-8, 1 Kings 8:21)


[34] From these things it is evident that the adytum (or oracle) of the temple, where the ark was, in the same way as in the tent of meeting, represented the Lord as to Divine Truth, and thus also the third heaven, where the angels are conjoined with the Lord through love to Him, and consequently have Divine Truth inscribed on their hearts. But the signification of the cherubim in the temple, their wings and the staves - which are also mentioned - shall be explained in a few words. The cherubim signified protection, lest the Lord should be approached except through the good of love, therefore also they were made of the wood of oil, and this wood signifies the good of love, as may be seen in n. 375. The wings of the cherubim signify the spiritual Divine which descends from the celestial Divine, in which is the third heaven into the second, and is there received; this is the reason why the wings touched each other in the midst of the house, and were stretched forth to the wall on each side. But the staves, with which the ark was carried, signified Divine Power, in the same way as arms. From these and the foregoing observations the signification of the ark of the covenant in the Word is evident.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 375)


[35] Moreover the ark signifies a representative of the church in general, and this the continual sacrifice in Daniel, which was to cease at the Lord's coming into the world, also signifies as in Jeremiah:

"I will give you shepherds according to my heart, that they may feed you with knowledge and understanding; then it shall come to pass when ye shall be multiplied and bear fruit in the land, in those days they shall no more say, The ark of the covenant of Jehovah, neither shall it come up upon the heart, neither shall they make mention of it, neither shall they desire it, neither shall it be renewed any more" (iii. 15, 16).

These things are said of the coming of the Lord, and of the abolition of the representative rites of the Jewish church at that time. That the interior things of the church which had been concealed by representative external rites would be made manifest, and that then would men be interior or spiritual, is signified by shepherds being given according to the heart of the Lord, who would feed them with knowledge and understanding, shepherds meaning those who teach good and lead to it by means of truths. Then it shall come to pass, when ye shall be multiplied and bear fruit in the land in those days, signifies the multiplication of truth and the fructification of good. That then there will be conjunction with the Lord by means of the interior things of the Word and not by exterior things, which merely signified and represented interior things, is signified by, They shall no more say, The ark of the covenant of Jehovah; the ark of the covenant of Jehovah there denoting the externals of worship, which were then to be abolished, the same as the continual [sacrifice] which was to cease, as mentioned in Daniel (viii. 13; xi. 31; xii. 11). That worship was to be no longer external but internal, is signified by, It shall not come up upon the heart, neither shall they make mention of it, neither shall they desire it, neither shall it be renewed any more. It is evident from this that the ark of the covenant seen by John in the temple of God, which is the vision now treated of, was a manifestation of the Divine Truth, by means of which the conjunction of the new heaven and new church with the Lord is effected. And it was therefore seen in this manner in order that the Word in the letter might be everywhere similar, consisting of such things as being externals of worship also represented internals, just as above (viii. 3, 4), where the altar and the offerings of incense were seen before the throne. For the Word in the letter consists of pure correspondences, such as existed in the representative churches, and were consequently made use of in writing the Word; and in these the interior things of heaven and the church, which are spiritual and celestial, are contained.

(References: 1 Kings 8:1-9; 2 Samuel 6:2-17; Daniel 8:13, 11:31, 12:11; Jeremiah 3:15-16; Revelation 8:3-4, Revelation 11:19)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 698, 817, 909

Resources for parents and teachers

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 At Gilgal
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Crossing the Jordan
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Prayers for Adults: Tabernacle of the Lord
Activity | Ages over 18

 Saul's Impatience
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Ark Brought to Jerusalem
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Capture and Return of the Ark
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Taking of Jericho
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3


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