538. The "abyss" signifies the hells where and from which are falsities, because those hells where the falsities of evil have rule appear like seas, in the depths of which is the infernal crew, which is in the falsities of evil. These hells appear like seas because falsities continually flow out from them, and falsities appear like waters; this is why "waters" in the Word also signify falsities. Moreover, from the waters themselves the quality of the falsity there is known, for falsities are of many kinds, as many as there are evils. Falsities that are from grievous evils appear over those hells like dense and black waters, and falsities from the evil of the love of self like ruddy waters, the density and color making evident the kind of falsity. It must be remembered that in the spiritual world truths also appear like waters, but like limpid and pure waters. This is because there are three degrees of man's life, as there are three heavens. Those in whom the third degree is opened are in an atmosphere pure like ether; those who are in the third or inmost heaven are in such an atmosphere; those in whom only the second degree is opened are in an atmosphere as it were aerial; those who are in the second or middle heaven are in such an atmosphere: but those in whom the first degree only is opened are in a kind of watery, rare, and pure atmosphere; those who are in the first or ultimate heaven are in such an atmosphere. This is because interior perceptions and thoughts, as being more perfect, correspond to a purity of atmosphere like that in which they are, for they pour themselves forth from every angel and still more from every angelic society, and present a corresponding sphere, which sphere is manifested in a purity like that of the perceptions and thoughts of the angels, that is, of their intelligence and wisdom. This sphere appears, as has been said, like an atmosphere, like an ethereal atmosphere in the inmost heaven, like an aerial atmosphere in the middle heaven, and like a rare watery atmosphere in the ultimate heaven. This makes evident that a kind of watery atmosphere corresponds to natural thought and perception, but a rare watery atmosphere corresponds to spiritual-natural thought and perception in which are the angels of the ultimate heaven; but a dense watery atmosphere, approaching either to black or ruddy, corresponds to natural thought in which there is nothing spiritual, and natural thought in which there is nothing spiritual those have who are in the hells where falsities prevail, for all who are there are merely natural and sensual. (That man has three degrees of life, like the three heavens, and that they differ in purity, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 33, 34, 208, 209, 211.) This makes evident why such hells are called in the Word "seas" and "abysses," "seas" because they appear like seas, and "abysses" from their depth.
 That "seas," "depths," and "abysses" signify the hells where and from which are the falsities of evil, can be seen in the following passages of the Word. In Moses:
Pharaoh's chariots and his army hath He cast into the sea. The abysses have covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. From the wind of Thy nostrils the waters were piled up, the floods stood upright as a heap, and the abysses were congealed in the heart of the sea (Exodus 15:4, 5, 8).
This is from the song of Moses respecting Pharaoh and his army after they were drowned in the Sea Suph. "Pharaoh and his army" signifying those who are in falsities from evil, and the "Sea Suph" the hell where those falsities are; from which it is evident that "the abysses covered them" signifies that the hells covered them. (What the rest signifies in the spiritual sense, see Arcana Coelestia 8272-8279, and 8286-8289, where it is explained.)
 These things have a like signification in David:
He rebuked the Sea Suph that it might be dried up, and He led them through the abysses as in the wilderness. The waters covered his 1 adversaries (Psalms 106:9, 11).
Art Thou not He who dried up the sea, the waters of the great abyss; who made the depths of the sea for a way that the redeemed might pass over? (Isaiah 51:10, 15).
Who divided the waters before them, who led them through the abysses like a horse in the wilderness; they stumbled not (Isaiah 63:12, 13).
The "sons of Israel" before whom the Sea Suph was dried up, and through which, when dried up, they passed safely, mean all who are in truths from good, whom the Lord protects, lest the falsities of evil that continually rise up from the hells should harm them; this is the meaning of "He dried up the sea, the waters of the great abyss," and of "He made its depths for way that the redeemed might pass over," also of "He led them through the abysses;" for falsities that are exhaled from the hells, consequently the hells, continually surround man (for it is the same whether you say falsities from the hells, or the hells), but the Lord continually disperses them with those who are in truths from good from Him; so this is what is signified by "drying up the sea," and "leading them through the abysses." Those who are in truths from good from the Lord are meant by the "redeemed."
(References: Isaiah 63:12-13)
 "To dry up the abyss" and "to make dry the rivers" have the same signification in Isaiah:
Jehovah saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the waste places thereof; saying to the abyss, Be dry; and I will make dry thy rivers (Isaiah 44:26, 27).
"Jerusalem" signifies the Lord's church, and "the cities of Judah" signify the goods and truths of doctrine; the restoration of the church and of doctrine is signified by "to be inhabited" and "to be built;" the dispersion of evils and falsities that are from the hells and protection from them, are signified by "drying up the abyss and making dry the rivers" (as above).
(References: Isaiah 44:26-27)
 The same is signified in Zechariah:
Israel shall pass through the sea of distress, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the depths of the river shall be dried up; and the pride of Assyria shall be cast down, and the staff of Egypt shall depart (Zechariah 10:11).
That those who are protected by the Lord in truths from good shall live, although falsities from the hells encompass them, is signified by "Israel shall pass through the sea and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the depths of the river shall be dried up," for "Israel" means those who are in truths from good; the "sea" signifies hell and all falsity therefrom; the "waves of the sea" signify reasonings from falsities against truths; "to dry up all the depths of the river" signifies to disperse all the falsities of evil, even the deeper, the "river Nile" signifying false knowledge [scientificum]; therefore it follows "the pride of Assyria shall be cast down, and the staff of Egypt shall depart," "Assyria" signifying reasoning from falsities against truths, and "Egypt" knowledge applied to confirm falsities; "the pride of Assyria which shall be cast down" signifies self-intelligence from which comes reasoning; and "the staff of Egypt which shall depart" signifies the power that is added to reasoning by knowledges that are applied for confirmation.
 In Ezekiel:
In the day when he shall go down into hell, I will cause to mourn, I will cover the abyss over him (Ezekiel 31:15).
This is said of Pharaoh and Assyria; and "Pharaoh" has a similar signification as "Egypt," namely, knowledge destroying the truth of the church by application to falsities, and "Assyria" signifies reasoning from falsities; that those who are such are cast down into hell, where such falsities and reasonings from falsities are, is signified by "he shall go down into hell, and shall be covered with the abyss;" from which it is evident that the "abyss" means the hell where and from which are the falsities of evil.
 In Micah:
God will turn back, He will have compassion upon us, He will subdue our iniquities, and He will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).
Because "the depths of the sea," the same as "abysses," mean the hells where and from which are evils and falsities, it is said, "He will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea."
 In Ezekiel:
When I shall make thee a desolate city like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall make the abyss to come up against thee, and many waters shall cover thee; then will I make thee to go down with them that go down into the pit, to the people of an age, and I will make thee to dwell in the land of the lower parts, in the desolations from an age, with them that go down into the pit, that thou have no habitation (Ezekiel 26:19, 20).
This is said of Tyre, which signifies the church in respect to the knowledges of truth and good, or in respect to the truths of the natural man, for the truths of the natural man are the knowledges of truth and good; this treats of the vastation of the church in respect to these; to make Tyre "a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited," signifies its doctrine without truths, and like the doctrines that are without good, for the truths of doctrine without good are not truths, since all truths are of good; "to make the abyss to come up against Tyre, that many waters may cover her," signifies immersion in falsities from hell in great abundance, the "abyss" meaning hell, and "many waters" falsities in great abundance; "with them that go down into the pit, to the people of an age," signifies to those in hell who were there from the most ancient church just before the flood; these are called "the people of an age, because they were from ancient time, and were, above others, in direful falsities. This shows what is signified by "making to dwell in the land of the lower parts, in the desolations from an age, with them that go down into the pit, that thou have no habitation," "to have no habitation" signifying here not to be in any truths, because not in good, for such do not dwell in houses but in pits.
(References: Ezekiel 26:19-20)
 Like things are signified in Zechariah:
Behold, Jehovah 2 will impoverish Tyre, and smite her wealth in the sea; and she herself shall be devoured by fire (Zechariah 9:4).
"To smite her wealth in the sea" signifies to cast falsities into hell, "the sea" meaning the hell in which are the falsities of evil, and "wealth" meaning the falsities themselves.
 In Ezekiel:
Those that despise thee have brought thee into many waters; the east wind hath broken thee in the heart of the seas. Thy riches, thy tradings, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, they that caulked thy chinks, and they who trade thy trading, and all thy men of war that are in thee, and in all thine assembly which is in the midst of thee, shall fall into the heart of the seas in the day of thy fall (Ezekiel 27:26, 27).
This treats of Tyre, and is said of her ships, which signify the knowledges of good and truth, or the truths of the natural man that they acquire and trade in, but here they mean falsities; "the heart of the seas in which the east wind hath broken her, and into which they shall fall in the day of her fall," has a similar signification as the "abyss," namely, the hell from which are the falsities of doctrine; "the east wind" meaning influx out of heaven, and the "day of her fall" the Last Judgment. "Riches" signify falsities; "tradings and merchandise" the acquisition and communication of falsities; "mariners" signify those who minister, and "pilots" the religious leaders who lead and teach; "men of war" those who defend, and "the assembly" false doctrinals.
(References: Ezekiel 27:26-27)
 In Jonah:
Out of the belly of hell have I cried; Thou hast heard my voice. Thou hadst cast me into the depth, even into the heart of the seas; and the river was round about me; all Thy billows and Thy waves passed over me. The waters enclosed me about even to the soul; the abyss encompassed me round about, the sedge was wrapped about my head. I went down to the cuttings off of the mountains; the bars of the earth are upon me forever; yet Thou hast made my life to come up out of the pit (Jonah 2:2, 3, 5, 6).
The Lord teaches in Matthew (Matthew 12:39, 40; 16:4; Luke 11:29, 30), that Jonah's being in the whale three days and three nights represented that the Lord would thus be in the heart of the earth; and these words of Jonah describe the Lord's direful temptations. And because it is by the overflow of evils and falsities that come up out of hell, and as it were overwhelm, that temptations exist, it is said that "out of the belly of hell he cried," and that "he was cast into the depth, even into the heart of the seas," which signifies hell; "the river and the waters that enclosed him," and "the billows and waves that passed over," signify the evils and falsities from hell; "the abyss that encompassed round about," signifies the hells where and from which are the falsities; "the cuttings off of the mountains to which he went down," signify the hells where and from which are evils; that the Lord was as it were bound by these is signified by "the sedge wrapped about the head," and "the bars of the earth that were upon him," "wrapped by sedge" signifying to be bound as it were by falsities, and "the bars of the earth" signifying to be bound as it were by evils; victory over these from His own power is signified by "yet hast Thou made my life to come up out of the pit." It is said, "Thou hast made to come up," but in reference to the Lord this means that He made Himself to come up by His Divine, that is, by His own power.
 The following passages in David have a like signification:
Abyss calleth unto abyss at the voice of Thy waterspouts; all Thy breakers and Thy waves have passed over me (Psalms 42:7).
The waters are come even to my soul. I have sunk in mire of depths, there is no standing; I have come into depths of waters, and the billow overwhelms me. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the depths of waters. Let not the flood of waters overwhelm me, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me (Psalms 69:1, 2, 14, 15).
In the same:
Return, quicken me; return and make me to come up out of the depths of the earth (Psalms 71:20).
In the same:
I have been counted with them that go down into the pit; neglected among the dead, like the slain that lie down in the grave, whom Thou rememberest no more; and from Thy hand they are cut off. Thou hast laid me in the pit of the lower parts, in dark places, in the depths (Psalms 88:4-6).
These passages in David describe the Lord's temptations when He was in the world, by which He subjugated the hells and glorified His Human; "waves" and "billows" signify evils and falsities; and "abysses" and "depths of the sea," likewise "the pit" signify the hells where and from which are evils and falsities; for as was said above, temptations are like immersions in the hells and obsessions by evils and falsities. This is signified by the lamentations in David in many places, and also in the Prophets; for in the spiritual sense of the Word there is much that treats of the Lord's temptations by which He subjugated the hells and arranged all things in order in the heavens and in the hells, and by which He glorified His Human; these things are especially meant in Luke (Luke 24:44) by the things predicted "in the Prophets and in the Psalms of David," respecting the Lord, and fulfilled by Him.
 "The abyss" and "the sea" and "its depths" also signify the hells in the following passages. In Jeremiah:
Flee ye, they have turned themselves away, they have cast themselves down into the deep, the inhabitants of Dedan, and of Hazor (Jeremiah 49:8, 30).
In the same:
The sea has come up upon Babylon; she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof (Jeremiah 51:42).
The Lord Jehovih hath made me to see; and behold, the Lord Jehovih calleth to devour 3 by fire; it hath devoured the great abyss (Amos 7:4).
The waters saw Thee, O God, the waters saw Thee, they were afraid; the abysses also trembled (Psalms 77:16).
In the same:
We will not fear when the earth shall be changed, and when the mountains shall be moved in the heart of the sea; the waters thereof shall be in tumult, shall be made turbid (Psalms 46:2, 3).
On the same day were all the fountains of the great abyss broken up, and the floodgates of heaven were opened (Genesis 7:11).
The fountains also of the abyss and the flood gates of heaven were stopped (Genesis 8:2).
Where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of intelligence? Man knoweth not the price thereof. The abyss saith, It is not in me; and the sea saith, It is not with me (Job 28:12-14).
In the same:
Hast thou entered into the weepings of the sea, and hast thou walked in search of the abyss? Have the gates of death been revealed unto thee, and hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of death? (Job 38:16, 17).
In the Gospels:
Whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe in Me to stumble, it is profitable for him that an ass-millstone be hanged about his neck, and that he be sunk in the depths of the sea (Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2).
The demons that had possession of the man besought Jesus that He would not command them to depart into the abyss, therefore He suffered them to enter into the swine (Luke 8:31, 33; Matthew 8:31, 32).
And in the following passages of Revelation:
The beast that came up out of the abyss and made war (Revelation 11:7).
The beast that thou sawest was and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss (Revelation 17:8).
I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a great chain upon his hand. And he bound the dragon a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3).
In these passages, also, "the abyss" and "the depth of the sea" signify the hell where and from which are the falsities of evil; for the reason that the evil spirits who are there, and who while they lived as men in the world were in the falsities of evil, seem to dwell as it were in the bottom of the seas, and this the more deeply according to the grievousness of the evil from which was their falsity.
 As "abysses" signify the hells, where and from which are falsities, so "abysses" signify also the ultimates of heaven, where and from which are the knowledges of truth, which are the truths of the natural man. This is because the ultimates of heaven appear to be in waters, but such as are limpid and clear; for, as was said above, the atmosphere of the highest heaven is like an ethereal atmosphere, that of the middle heaven like an aerial atmosphere, and that of the lowest heaven like a watery atmosphere; this is like a watery atmosphere because the truths with those who are in it are truths of the natural man, and the atmosphere of the natural man is as it were watery. This is what gives rise to the appearances of rivers, lakes, and seas, in the spiritual world; consequently "seas" signify also cognitions and knowledges [cognitiones et scientifica] in general, or in the whole complex (see above, n. 275, 342).
 "Abysses" also have a like signification in the following passages. In Moses:
Jehovah thy God bringeth thee to a good land, a land of rivers of waters, of fountains and abysses going forth from valley and mountain (Deuteronomy 8:7).
(This may be seen explained above, n. 518.) In the same:
God will bless Joseph with the blessings of heaven from above, with the blessings of the abyss that coucheth below (Genesis 49:25; Deuteronomy 33:13). (This, too, is explained above, n. 448.)
By the word of Jehovah were the heavens made; and all the hosts 4 of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathered the waters of the sea together as a heap; He giveth the abysses in storehouses (Psalms 33:6, 7). (See above, n. 275, where this is explained.)
In the same:
Thou hast covered the earth with the abyss as with a garment (Psalms 104:6).(See above, n. 275.)
In the same:
Praise Jehovah from the earth, ye whales and all abysses (Psalms 148:7).
"Abysses" in these passages signify the ultimates of heaven, in which are spiritual-natural angels.
The waters made thee 5 to grow, the abyss made it high (Ezekiel 31:4). (See also above, n. 518.)
 Furthermore "abysses" signify Divine truths in abundance and the arcana of Divine wisdom. Thus in David:
He clave the rock in the desert, and made them to drink out of great abysses (Psalms 78:15).
In the same:
Jehovah, Thy righteousness is like a great abyss (Psalms 36:6; also elsewhere).
1. Latin "his," Hebrew "their," as we also find in AC 756.
2. Latin "Jehovah," Hebrew "Lord," as we also find in AE 236, 504; AC 10227.
3. Latin "devour," Hebrew "contend."
4. Latin "all the hosts, Hebrew "all the host," as we also find in AE 275, 573; AC 97, 2702.
5. Latin "thee," Hebrew "it," as we also find in AE 518; AC 108, 2588, 2702.