And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
By Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman
After Jesus is Born
1. And when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came Magi from the east into Jerusalem,
2. Saying, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.”
3. But having heard, Herod the king was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born.
5. And they said unto him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for thus it is written by the prophet:
6. ‘And thou Bethlehem, [of] the land of Judah, art by no means the least among the governors of Judah, for out of thee shall come a Governor, who shall shepherd My people Israel.’”
7. Then Herod, privately calling the Magi, precisely inquired of them at what time the star appeared.
8. And sending them to Bethlehem, he said, “Go and search earnestly for the little Child; and when you have found [Him], report to me, so that I also may come and worship Him.”
9. And when they had heard the king they went [out]; and behold, the star which they saw in the east went before them, till it came [and] stood over where the little Child was.
10. And having seen the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
11. And coming into the house, they found the little Child with Mary His mother, and falling [down] they worshiped Him; and opening their treasures, they offered to Him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
12. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed into their own country by another way.
13. And when they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appears in a dream to Joseph, saying, “Arise and take the little Child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be there until I tell thee; for Herod is about to seek the little Child to destroy Him.”
14. And when he arose, he took the little Child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt,
15. And was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was declared by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt have I called My Son.”
16. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the Magi, was exceedingly wrathful, and sent out and slew all the boys that were in Bethlehem, and in all her borders , from two years and under, according to the time which he had precisely inquired of the Magi.
17. Then was fulfilled what was declared by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,
18. “A voice was heard in Rama, lamentation, and weeping, and much howling, Rachel weeping [for] her children; and she was not willing to be comforted, because they are not.”
19. And when Herod was dead, behold, the angel of the Lord, in a dream appears to Joseph in Egypt,
20. Saying, “Arise, take the little Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel; for they are dead who sought the soul of the little Child.”
Joseph’s struggle within himself — as to whether or not to accept Mary and the child — represents the spiritual battle which each of us must undergo in the course of our regeneration. It is one thing to receive the Lord in the understanding (represented by Joseph), but quite another to allow Him to order the things of our will — represented by the angel telling Joseph to take Mary as his wife. This is the fiercer battle which now begins “after Jesus is born.”
The antagonist is Herod, the king of Judea at the time of Jesus’ birth. Comfortable and secure in his role as the supreme ruler of the land, Herod is deeply troubled by the report of the Wise Men who say, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?” Spiritually seen, Herod, as king of Israel, represents total self-absorption, our corrupt hereditary will, setting itself up as the ruler of our lives. This is our state after fourteen generations of captivity in Babylon — a state in which we are governed by our basest emotions: greed, control, anger, fear, hatred and jealousy. We can be sure that whenever we find ourselves in a state like this, Herod is sitting comfortably and securely on his throne. He is a tyrannical ruler, easily threatened, but not easily dethroned. His motivating force is to destroy the Lord in us — even at His birth — rather than relinquish his control over us.
God knows that we need divine protection from the wrath of Herod who represents our selfish desire to control. God therefore speaks to Joseph (as He does to us) in a dream, saying “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and remain there until I bring you word; for Herod is about to seek the young Child to destroy Him” (2:13).
Egypt, at that time, was a world center for education and learning. Medicine, mathematics, poetry and many other fields of study were flourishing. So Jesus’ flight into Egypt represents the need that all of us have for basic education, not just the standard three “R’s,” (reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic) but the fourth “R” as well — the basics of religion.
Religious truth, especially the most basic, can help defend us against the onslaughts of Herod — the despot of our lower nature, a fierce tyrant who strives to murder everything that is true in us, even in its most innocent beginning. This is represented by Herod’s massacre of the male children in and around Bethlehem: “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem, and in all its districts, from two years old and under” (2:16; emphasis added).
The name “Bethlehem,” comes from two Hebrew words: “Beth” meaning “house” and “lechem” meaning “bread.” Therefore, Bethlehem means “House of Bread” — a place of spiritual nourishment. In the context of this episode, Herod’s destruction of all the male children of Bethlehem, two years old and under, represents how evil inclinations can destroy our earliest impulses to learn truth. These earliest desires to acquire knowledge of truth are symbolized by the male babies of Bethlehem. Whenever we fall into states of cynicism and skepticism, refusing to learn or trust the simple teachings of the Word, whenever we find ourselves without desire to seek the truth, and whenever the distractions of the world lure us away from the quest for wisdom, we can know that “Herod” has risen up in our hearts. A massacre has begun. “Herod in us” is striving to murder the innocent and tender qualities that have been born in our heavenly Bethlehem.
But if we flee to and remain in Egypt (as Jesus does), we will be protected. It is the place where our instruction begins. This is a temporary, but essential part of our spiritual development; temporary because we must eventually return to the land of Canaan where the truth will be applied to our lives; and essential, because these basic, natural truths are the only means by which we can be prepared to receive the higher insights that will eventually flow in from above. 1
For most of us, the period of our instruction in basic truths can last for many years, well into adolescence and beyond. In fact, it never really ends. Throughout our lives we will continue to acquire knowledge, both worldly and spiritual. We will, as it were, “go down into Egypt.” And, as we do so, learning truth and putting it into our lives, we will begin to see how the literal teachings of scripture “open up” like parting clouds, revealing more and more of the interior truths they contain.
In Jesus’ own case, this process of acquiring basic truth was much more rapid. Although Matthew does not tell us how long Jesus remained in Egypt, we can safely assume He was still quite young when He left, for an angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the soul of the young Child’s are dead” (2:20; emphasis added).
Growing up in Nazareth
21. And he arose, [and] took the little Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22. And hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judea instead of his father Herod, he feared to go thither; but being warned in a dream, he departed into the parts of Galilee.
23. And coming, He dwelt in a city called Nazareth, so that it might be fulfilled which was declared by the prophets, that He should be called a Nazarene.
Eventually, Joseph, Mary, and the young Child decide to return to Judea. This represents the next step in our spiritual journey. Once we have learned the simple, basic, most literal truths of the Word (sojourning in Egypt), it is time to return to Judea. It is time to be further instructed, and to see what is more interiorly concealed within the letter of the Word. This is a necessary step in every person’s spiritual development. The letter of the Word serves as a literal history of people and places; it is an introduction to basic truth. It does not, however, reveal the full details of our spiritual journey, or provide the kind of discernment we need for the refinement of our souls. Not yet, but that will surely come when we are ready to receive further instruction.
Meanwhile, as the divine narrative continues, Joseph is “warned by God in a dream” that it is not yet time to return to their home. Though Herod is dead, his son is still in power. And so Mary, Joseph, and the young Child turn aside into the region of Galilee, into a city called Nazareth. This is yet another step on the journey of spiritual development. In the language of sacred scripture, it could be called, “growing up in Nazareth.
But what does it mean to “grow up in Nazareth”?
Nazareth of Galilee was a primitive region populated mostly by farmers, fishermen and uneducated tradespeople who knew very little about theology or the laws of the temple.
Unlike the well-educated (but misguided) religious leaders in Judea, the people of Galilee were not part of the religious establishment of the time. Although they had a strong belief in God, they were not familiar with the main doctrines taught by the religious leaders or the traditions of the temple authorities. And yet, a simple belief in God is often better than a more complicated belief system based on human reason rather than divine revelation. In this regard, the “learned world” often looks down upon people who believe in simplicity that there is a God, and that God is good. 2
The simple, hard-working, good people of Nazareth, therefore, symbolize the humility and simplicity we need to believe in God and live according to His teachings. It is remarkable that almost all the early disciples came from Galilee. It was not their theological training that made them receptive to the teachings of Jesus — for they had very little. In fact, it might be said that it was the absence of theological training — or to be more precise, the absence of false and misleading theology — that made them receptive to Jesus’ words. 3
Galilee, then, and the city of Nazareth which was in the region of Galilee, represent the simplicity of heart and the goodness of life that can receive God openly without skepticism or negativity. Because their religious principles are simple and uncomplicated — love God, love your neighbor — these people can receive Jesus’ teachings readily and with joy. All this is contained in the scriptural statement that Jesus grew up in Nazareth of Galilee, in the “land of the Gentiles.” 4 These words speak about a state in us “where Jesus grows up” — a state in which we are willing to receive basic truths simply, uncritically, and with joy.
As we shall see later in the narrative, the fact that Jesus grows up in Nazareth, in the land of the Gentiles, will be held against Him. The religious leaders will regard Him as poor and uneducated, untrained in their religious tenets, and therefore incapable of understanding or conveying spiritual truth to anyone. And yet, as this episode closes, we learn that His growing up in Nazareth is the fulfillment of prophecy, for we read, “And He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’” (2:23).
As we reflect on this miraculous moment in the early life of Jesus, it becomes evident that those simple, most basic truths we learn (Egypt) must be protected in a place of simple trust and unalloyed faith (Nazareth of Galilee). This is a necessary stage in which early truths from the letter of the Word can deepen and develop. It is why we feel a natural desire to protect the innocence of children from corrupting influences — Herod, and the son of Herod. And it is the same with each of us as we learn new truth from the letter of the Word, and allow it to grow up within us in a state of simple faith.
1. Arcana Coelestia 1462:6: “That the Lord when an infant was brought into Egypt, signified the same that is here signified by Abram [instruction in truths from the letter of the Word]; and it took place for the additional reason that He might fulfill all the things that had been represented concerning Him. In the inmost sense the migration of Jacob and his sons into Egypt represented the first instruction of the Lord in knowledges from the Word.” See also Apocalypse Explained 654.
2. Apocalypse Explained 447:5: “Galilee signifies the establishment of the church with the Gentiles who are in the good of life and who receive truths.”
3. Arcana Coelestia 4760:4: “It is well-known that the learned have less belief than the simple in a life after death, and that in general they see Divine truths less clearly than the simple do. The reason is that they consult facts, of which they possess a greater abundance than others, with a negative attitude, and by this destroy in themselves any insight gained from a higher or more interior position. Once this has been destroyed they no longer see anything in the light of heaven but in the light of the world; for facts exist in the light of the world, and if they are not lit up by the light of heaven they bring darkness, however different it may seem to be to them. This was why the simple believed in the Lord but not the scribes and Pharisees, who were the learned in that nation.”
4. Apocalypse Explained 730: “Gentiles signify those who are in ignorance of truth, and yet are in the good of life according to their religious principle, from which they have a desire for truths.”
730. Verse 6 (Revelation 12:6). And the woman fled into the wilderness, signifies the church among a few, because with those who are not in good, and consequently not in truths. This is evident from the signification of "woman," as being the church (see above, n. 707), also from the signification of "wilderness," as being where there are no truths because there is no good (of which presently); also from the signification of "fleeing" thither, as meaning to tarry among those who are not in truths because they are not in good; and as there are at the end of the church but few who are in truths from good, it signifies among a few. From this it is clear what these words involve, namely, that the New Church that is called the Holy Jerusalem, which is signified by "the woman," can as yet be instituted only with a few, by reason that the former church is become a wilderness; and the church is called a "wilderness" when there is no longer any good; and where there is no good there are no truths. When the church is such, evils and falsities reign, which hinder the reception of its doctrine, that is, the doctrine of love to the Lord and of charity towards the neighbor, with its truths; and when doctrine is not received there is no church, for the church is from doctrine.
(References: The Apocalypse Explained 707)
 Something shall first be said of there being no truths where there is no good. By good is meant the good of the life according to the truths of doctrine from the Word. The reason is because the Lord never flows immediately into truths with man, but mediately through his good; for good is of the will, and the will is the man himself; from the will the understanding is produced and formed; for the understanding is adjoined to the will so that what the will loves the understanding sees, and also brings forth into light; consequently if the will is not in good, but is in evil, then the influx of truth from the Lord into the understanding has no effect, for it is dissipated, because it is not loved, yea, it is perverted, and the truth is falsified. From this it is clear why the Lord does not flow immediately into man's understanding except so far as the will is in good. With every man the Lord can enlighten the understanding, and thus flow in with Divine truths, since there is given to every man the ability to understand truth, and this for the sake of his reformation; nevertheless the Lord does not flow in, because truths do not remain except so far as the will has been reformed. Moreover, it is dangerous to so enlighten the understanding in truths as to produce belief except so far as the will acts as one with it; since man can then pervert, adulterate, and profane truths, which is most hurtful. Furthermore, so far as truths are known and understood and are not at the same time lived, they are nothing but lifeless truths, and lifeless truths are like statues that have no life. From this it can be seen why it is that there are no truths where there is no good, that is, not in essence but only in form.
 The man of the church at its end is such, because man then loves supremely such things as belong to the body and the world; and when these are loved supremely then the things pertaining to the Lord and heaven are not loved, for no one can serve two masters at the same time but that he will love the one and hate the other, since they are opposites. For from the love of the body, which is the love of self, and from the love of the world, which is the love of riches, when these are loved above all things, evils of every kind flow forth, and from evils falsities, and these are the opposites of goods and truths, which come forth from love to the Lord and from charity towards the neighbor. These few words will make clear why it is that the woman is said "to have fled into the wilderness," that is, among a few, because of being with those who are not in good, and thus not in truths.
 In the Word wilderness and also solitude and waste places are mentioned in many passages, and these signify the state of the church when there is no longer any truth in it because there is no good. This state of the church is called a "wilderness" because in the spiritual world the place where those dwell who are not in truths because they are not in good is like a wilderness, where there is no verdure in the plains, nor harvest in the fields, nor fruit trees in the gardens, but a barren land, parched and dry; moreover "wilderness" signifies in the Word the state of the church with the Gentiles who are in ignorance of truth, and yet are in the good of life according to their religious principle, from which they have a desire for truths. "Wilderness," signifies also in the Word the state of those who are in temptations, because in temptations goods and truths are shut in by the evils and falsities that come forth and are presented to the mind. That "wilderness" has these significations in the Word can be seen from the passages therein where "wilderness" is mentioned.
 In respect to the first meaning, namely, that "wilderness" means the state of the church when there is no longer any truth in it because there is no good, it is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:
Is this the man that maketh the earth to tremble, that maketh kingdoms quake, that hath made the world a wilderness and destroyed the cities thereof? (Isaiah 14:16, 17)
This is said of Lucifer, by whom Babylon is meant, and "to make the earth to tremble, to make kingdoms quake, and make the world a wilderness," signifies to destroy all the truths and goods of the church; "the earth" meaning the church; "kingdoms" its truths; "world" its goods; and "wilderness" where these are not. "To destroy its cities" signifies its doctrinals, "city" signifying doctrine. The adulteration of the Word, whereby doctrine and thus the church is destroyed, is here signified by "Babylon. "
(References: Isaiah 14:16-17)
 In the same:
Upon the land of my people shall come up the thorn of the briar, yea, upon all the houses of joy in the triumphing city; for the palace shall be deserted, the multitude of the city shall be forsaken. The height and the watchtower shall be over the caves forever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture for flocks (Isaiah 32:13, 14).
"Upon the land of my people shall come up the thorn of the briar" signifies the falsity of evil in the church; "the thorn of the briar" meaning the falsity of evil, and "land" the church. "Upon all the houses of joy in the triumphing city" signifies where the goods and truths of the doctrine from the Word have been received with affection. But what is signified by "the palace shall be deserted, the multitude of the city shall be forsaken, the height and the watchtower shall be over the caves, a joy of wild asses, and a pasture for flocks," may be seen above n. 410, where it is explained.
 In the same:
At My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers into a wilderness, their fish shall rot because there is no water, and shall die for thirst (Isaiah 50:2).
"To make the rivers into a wilderness," signifies to deprive the understanding of truths, thus to deprive man of intelligence. (The rest may be seen explained above, n. 342 In Jeremiah:
I saw, and lo, Carmel was a wilderness, and all the cities were desolate before Jehovah; the whole land shall be a waste (Jeremiah 4:26, 27).
"Carmel" signifies the spiritual church, which is in truths from good; that this was a "wilderness" signifies that there were in it no truths from good; "cities which were desolate" signify doctrinals without truths; "the whole land a waste" signifies a church destitute of good and consequently of truths.
 In the same:
Many shepherds have destroyed My vineyard, they have trodden down My field, they have made the field of My desire a wilderness of solitude. Devastators are come upon all the hills in the wilderness, for the sword of Jehovah devoureth from one end of the land to the other end of it (Jeremiah 12:10, 12).
The total destruction of the truths and goods of the church by falsities from evil is signified by "they have destroyed the vineyard, trodden down the field, made the field of desire a wilderness of solitude; and devastators are come upon all the hills in the wilderness, for the sword of Jehovah devoureth;" "vineyard and field" signify the church in respect to truth and good; "field of desire" signifies the church in respect to doctrine; and "wilderness of solitude" where these are not; "devastators in the wilderness" signify evils because of the absence of truths; "the sword of Jehovah devoureth" signifies falsity destroying; "from one end of the land to the other end of the land" signifies all things of the church.
 In Lamentations:
We get our bread with the peril of our souls, because of the sword of the wilderness (Lamentations 5:9).
"To get bread with the peril of souls" signifies the difficulty and danger in acquiring the truths of life from the Word; "because of the sword of the wilderness" signifies because the falsity of evil prevails in the church and falsifies truths and thus destroys them.
 In Ezekiel:
The vine is now planted in the wilderness, in a land of drought and thirst (Ezekiel 19:13).
"Vine" signifies the church, which in the beginning of this chapter is called "a mother who became a lioness;" this is said "to be planted in the wilderness" when there is no longer any truth in it because there is no good; "a land of drought" means where there is no good, but evil instead, and a "land of thirst" means where there is no truth, but falsity instead.
 In Hosea:
Strive with your mother that she may put away her whoredoms from her faces, lest I strip her naked and set her as in the day of her birth, and make her as a wilderness, and set her as a land of drought, and slay her with thirst (Hosea 2:2, 3).
This is said of the church that has falsified the truths of the Word; "mother" means the church, and "whoredoms" the falsifications of truth; "to strip her naked and set her as in the day of her birth" signifies to deprive the church of all truth, as it was before it was reformed; "wilderness" and "land of drought" signify a church without good; and "to slay with thirst" signifies a deprivation of truth; "thirst" is predicated of truths, because "water," which is thirsted for, means truth, and "drought" is predicated of the want of good, because it is a result of scorching.
(References: Hosea 2:2-3)
 In the same:
He is fierce among the brethren; an east wind shall come, the wind of Jehovah, coming up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up (Hosea 13:15).
This is said of Ephraim, by whom the understanding of the Word is meant, and this is called "fierce among the brethren" when it eagerly defends falsities, and combats for them against truths; "an east wind, the wind of Jehovah," signifies the ardor of desire from a love for and pride in the destruction of truths; this is said "to come up from the wilderness" when it is from an understanding in which there are no truths from good, but only falsities from evil; such an understanding is a "wilderness" because it is empty and void; that by such ardor and pride everything of doctrine and of the Word is destroyed is signified by "his spring shall become dry and his fountain shall be dried up," "spring" meaning doctrine, and "fountain" the Word.
 In Joel:
O Jehovah, to thee do I cry, because the fire hath consumed the habitations of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field; for the beasts of the field pant after Thee, for the streams of waters are dried up, and the fire hath consumed the habitations of the wilderness (Joel 1:19, 20).
"The fire hath consumed the habitations of the wilderness and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field" signifies that the love of self and the pride of self-intelligence have consumed all the perception of good and all the understanding of the truth of doctrine from the sense of the letter of the Word, "fire" signifying the love of self, "flame" the pride of self-intelligence, "the habitations of the wilderness" the goods of doctrine from the sense of the letter of the Word, and "the trees of the field" the knowledges of its truth. The sense of the letter of the Word is called a "wilderness" when it is merely understood naturally, thus according to appearances, and not at the same time spiritually, or according to the genuine sense. "The beasts of the field pant after Thee" signifies the lamentations of those who are natural and yet have a desire for truths; that "beasts" signify the affections of the natural man may be seen above n. 650; "for the streams of waters are dried up, and the fire hath consumed the habitations of the wilderness" signifies that consequently there are no longer any truths and goods of life.
 In the same:
The day of Jehovah cometh; a fire consumeth before him, and behind him a flame kindleth; the land is as the garden of Eden before him, but behind him a wilderness of wasteness, and nothing escaped him (Joel 2:1, 3).
"The day of Jehovah" means the end of the church, called the consummation of the age, and the Lord's coming at that time. That at the end of the church the love of self and the consequent pride of self-intelligence consume all its goods and truths is signified by "a fire devoureth before him, and behind him a flame kindleth," "fire" signifying the love of self, and "flame" the pride of self-intelligence, as above. "The land is as the garden of Eden before him, but behind him a wilderness of wasteness," signifies that in the beginning, when that church was established with the ancients, there was an understanding of truth from good, but at its end falsity from evil; "the garden of Eden" signifying the understanding of truth from good and the consequent wisdom, and "wilderness of wasteness" signifying no understanding of truth from good, and consequent insanity from falsities that are from evil; "nothing escaped him" signifies that there is nothing whatever of truth from good.
 In Isaiah:
The land mourneth, it languisheth, Lebanon blusheth, it hath withered away, Sharon is become like a desert, Bashan is shaken out, and Carmel (Isaiah 33:9).
This, too, describes the devastation of good and the desolation of truth in the church. "Lebanon" signifies the church in respect to a rational understanding of good and truth; "Sharon," "Bashan," and "Carmel," the church in respect to the knowledges of good and truth from the natural sense of the Word; the devastation and abandonment of these is signified by "mourning," "languishing," "withering away," and "becoming like a desert," the "desert" meaning where there is no truth because there is no good.
 In Jeremiah:
Because the land is full of adulterers, because the land mourneth on account of cursing, the pastures of the wilderness are dried up (Jeremiah 23:10).
"The land full of adulterers" signifies the church which has its goods and truths from the Word adulterated; the "curse" on account of which the land mourneth, signifies all the evil of life and falsity of doctrine; and "the pastures of the wilderness that are dried up" signify the knowledges of good and truth from the Word; "pastures" meaning such knowledges because they nourish the mind, and "wilderness" signifies the Word when it is adulterated.
 In David:
Jehovah maketh rivers into a wilderness, and the springs of water into dryness, a land of fruit into saltiness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein (Psalms 107:33, 34).
"The rivers that are made into a wilderness" signify intelligence from the understanding of truth and also of the Word in its interior sense, that has been devastated by falsities from evil; "rivers" meaning such things as belong to intelligence, and "wilderness" where these things are absent, and in their place are the falsities from evil. "The springs of water that are turned into dryness" signify that the lowest things of the understanding, which are called the knowledges of truth and good, have no light of truth or spiritual affection for it; "waters" signifying truths; "dryness" deprivation of these from the absence of light and affection, and "springs" the ultimates of truth, like the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word. "The land of fruit that shall be made into saltiness" signifies the good of love and of life deeply vastated by falsities; "saltiness" meaning the devastation of truth by falsities; and as all devastation by falsities comes from the evil of the life it is added, "for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. "
(References: Psalms 107:33-34)
 In Jeremiah:
Lift up thine eyes unto the hills, and see where thou hast been defiled, upon the ways hast thou sat as an Arabian in the wilderness, whence thou hast profaned the land with thy whoredoms and thy wickedness (Jeremiah 3:2).
This describes the adulteration and falsification of the Word, which are signified by "being defiled and committing whoredom;" so "Lift up thine eyes unto the hills, and see where thou hast been defiled," signifies to give thought to the knowledges of truth and good in the Word, that they have been adulterated; "to lift up the eyes" signifies to give thought, "hills" signify those knowledges because the groves and trees that are upon them signify knowledges; "hills" signify also the goods of charity which are so destroyed; "upon the ways hast thou sat as an Arabian in the wilderness" signifies to lie in wait, lest any truth should come forth and be received; "ways" meaning the truths of the church; "to sit in them" meaning to lie in wait, and "an Arabian in the wilderness" meaning one who kills and plunders like a robber in the wilderness. "Thou hast profaned the land with thy whoredoms and wickedness" signifies the falsification of the truths of the Word by evils that have come to be of the life.
 In the same:
O generation, see ye the Word of Jehovah; have I been a wilderness to Israel? have I been a land of darkness? (Jeremiah 2:31)
That every good of life and truth of doctrine is taught in the Word, and not the evil of life and the falsity of doctrine, is meant by "see ye the Word of Jehovah; have I been a wilderness to Israel? have I been a land of darkness?"
 In Joel:
Egypt shall be a waste, and Edom a waste wilderness, because of the violence to the sons of Judah, whose innocent blood they have shed in their land (Joel 3:19).
"Egypt" and "Edom" signify the natural man that has perverted the truths and goods of the Word; that it is to be so destroyed as to see only such things as serve for confirmation is signified by "Egypt shall be a waste, and Edom a waste wilderness;" that this will be because of the adulteration of every good and truth in the Word is signified by "because of the violence to the sons of Judah, whose innocent blood they have shed;" "violence to the sons of Judah" signifying the adulteration of the Word in respect to good, and "shedding innocent blood" the adulteration of the Word in respect to its truths. (That "Judah" signifies the celestial church, and also the Word, see above, n. 211, 433; and that "shedding innocent blood" signifies to do violence to Divine truth, thus to adulterate the truth of the Word, n. 329.) The adulteration of the Word is effected by the knowledges [scientifica] of the natural man when these are applied to confirm falsities and evils, and the natural man becomes a "waste" and a "wilderness" when his knowledges are used to confirm falsity and evil; "Egypt" signifies such knowledges, and "Edom" the pride that falsifies by means of these.
 In Malachi:
Esau I hated, and made his mountains a waste and his heritage for the dragons of the wilderness (Malachi 1:3).
"Esau" signifies the love of the natural man; "his mountains" signify the evils from that love, and "his heritage" signifies the falsities from those evils, and "the dragons of the desert" signify mere falsifications from which these come.
(References: Luke 3:2-4)
 Because with the Jewish nation all things of the Word had been adulterated, and there was no longer any truth because there was no good, John the Baptist was "in the wilderness," and this represented the state of that church, respecting which it is written in the Gospels:
John the Baptist was in the wilderness till the days of his appearing unto Israel (Luke 1:80).
That he preached in the wilderness of Judea (Matthew 3:1-3; Mark 1:2-4; Luke 3:2, 4, 5);
and in Isaiah:
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make level in the solitude a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3).
So also the Lord says of "Jerusalem," which means the church in respect to doctrine:
Your house is left deserted (Luke 13:35).
"A house deserted" signifies the church that is without truths because it is without good. But what is signified by the following in Matthew:
If they say unto you, Lo, Christ is in the wilderness, go not forth; if in the secret chambers, believe not (Matthew 24:26);
may be seen explained in Arcana Coelestia 3900); for "Christ" means the Lord in relation to Divine truth, consequently in relation to the Word and to doctrine from the Word, and "false Christs," of whom this is said, signify the falsities of doctrine from the truths of the Word falsified. From the passages that have been cited from the Word it can be seen that "wilderness" means the church in which there are no truths because there is no good, consequently in which there is falsity because there is evil; for where there is no truth and good, there is falsity and evil; the two cannot exist together, and this is meant by the Lord's words, that "no one can serve two masters."
(References: Luke 3:4-5)
 2. Again, "wilderness" signifies the state of the church with the Gentiles that have been in ignorance of truth, and yet have been in the good of life according to their religious principle, from which they have desired truths, as can be seen from the passages in the Word that treat of the church that is to be established among the Gentiles. In Isaiah:
The spirit shall be poured out upon you 1 from on high; then the wilderness shall be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed a forest; judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and justice shall abide in the fruitful field (Isaiah 32:15, 16).
This is said of those who are in natural good, and are being reformed; influx out of heaven into such is signified by "the spirit shall be poured out upon you 2 from on high;" that truth from a spiritual origin will then be implanted in them is signified by "the wilderness shall be a fruitful field;" "wilderness" meaning the natural man destitute of truths, and "fruitful field" (or land of harvest) the natural man made fruitful by truths. That in consequence the natural man will have a knowledge of the cognitions of truth and good is signified by "the fruitful field shall be esteemed a forest;" "forest" is predicated of the natural man as "garden" is of the spiritual, therefore a "forest" signifies knowledge and a "garden" intelligence; that in consequence there will be in the natural man that which is right and just is signified by "judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and justice shall abide in the fruitful field;" "judgment" and "justice" signify in the spiritual sense truth and good, but in the natural sense that which is right and just.
(References: Isaiah 32:15-16)
 In the same:
I will open rivers on the heights, and fountains will I place in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness into a pool of waters, and the dry land into springs of waters; I will give in the wilderness the cedar of shittah, the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the solitude the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree (Isaiah 41:18, 19).
This, too, is said of the reformation and enlightenment of the Gentiles; and "to open rivers upon the heights and to place fountains in the midst of the valleys" signifies to give intelligence from spiritual truths and from natural truths; "rivers upon the heights" signifying intelligence from spiritual truths, and "fountains in the midst of valleys" intelligence from natural truths; "to make the wilderness into a pool of waters, and the dry land into springs of waters" signifies to fill the spiritual and the natural man with truths where before there were no truths; the spiritual man in which there were no truths is meant by "wilderness," since hitherto there had been no truth in it; and the natural man in which there was no truth is meant by "dry land," since hitherto there had been no spiritual influx into it; that the spiritual man will have truths in abundance is meant by "a pool of waters," and that the natural man will have truths in abundance is meant by the "springs of waters." "To set in the wilderness the cedar of shittah, the myrtle, and the oil tree" signifies to give rational truths and a perception of them, and "to set in the solitude the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree," signifies in like manner natural truths, which are knowledges and cognitions with the understanding of them; the "cedar" meaning higher rational truth; the "myrtle" lower rational truth; "oil tree" perception of good and thus of truth; "fir tree" the higher natural truth; the "pine" lower natural truth; and "box tree" the understanding of good and truth in the natural man.
(References: Isaiah 41:18-19)
 In David:
He maketh the wilderness into a pool of waters, and the dry land into a springing forth of waters; and there He maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may build a city of habitation (Psalms 107:35, 36).
This, likewise, is said of the enlightenment of the Gentiles. "To make the wilderness into a pool of waters" has a similar signification as just above; "and there He maketh the hungry to dwell" signifies for the sake of those who desire truths; these are meant by "the hungry and famished" in the Word; "that they may build a city of habitation" signifies that out of truths they may make for themselves a doctrine of life, "city" meaning doctrine, and "to inhabit" meaning to live.
(References: Psalms 107:35-36)
 In Isaiah:
Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it shall spring forth; I will even place a way in the wilderness, rivers in the solitude; the wild beast of the field shall honor Me, the dragons and the daughters of the owl, because I will give waters in the wilderness, rivers in the solitude, to give drink to My people, My chosen (Isaiah 43:19, 20).
This, too, is said of the New Church to be established by the Lord among the Gentiles. The "wilderness" signifies the state of the church with those who are ignorant of truth, and yet have a desire to know it. But what the particulars signify in the spiritual sense may be seen explained above n. 518.
 In the same:
Jehovah will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places, and He will make her wilderness as Eden, and her solitude like the garden of Jehovah; joy and gladness will be found therein, confession and the voice of singing (Isaiah 51:3).
This, also, is said of the New Church among the Gentiles that will acknowledge the Lord; that church is meant by "Zion," and its establishment and the reformation of the Gentiles by "comforting;" "the wilderness that shall be made as Eden and the solitude like the garden of Jehovah" signifies wisdom and intelligence from love to the Lord that those have who before had no understanding of truth and no perception of good. (But this may be seen explained above, n. 721
(References: The Apocalypse Explained 721)
 In David:
The habitations of the wilderness drop, and the hills gird themselves with exultation; the meadows are clothed with flocks, and the valleys are covered over with corn (Psalms 65:12, 13).
This, also, is said of the church among the Gentiles. "The habitations of the wilderness drop" signifies that their minds that before have been in ignorance of truth acknowledge and receive truths; "to drop" is predicated of the influx, acknowledgment and reception of truth; "habitations" are predicated of the interiors of man which belong to his mind, and "wilderness" is predicated of a state of the ignorance of truth. "The hills gird themselves with exultation" signifies that the goods in them receive truths with joy of heart; "the meadows are clothed with flocks, and the valleys are covered over with corn," signifies that both the spiritual mind and the natural mind receive truths suitable to themselves; "meadows" signifying such things as belong to the spiritual mind and thus to the rational mind, and "valleys" such as belong to the natural mind; "flock" spiritual truth, and "corn" natural truth.
(References: Psalms 65:12-13)
 In Isaiah:
Let them sing praise, the end of the earth, those that go down to the sea, and its fullness, the islands and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up the voice, the villages that Arabia doth inhabit; let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them cry out from the head of the mountains (Isaiah 42:10, 11).
This is said of a church with those who were remote from the truths of the church because they were natural and sensual; their state of ignorance is meant by the "wilderness," and their joy from the preaching and the knowledge of truth is signified by "singing praise and lifting up the voice." (The rest may be seen explained above, n. 406
 Since the state of ignorance of truth, in which the Gentiles have been, is signified by a "wilderness," and the desire for truth by "hunger," and instruction by the Lord by "feeding," it came to pass that the Lord withdrew into the wilderness, and there taught the multitude that sought Him, and afterwards fed them. (That this took place in the wilderness can be seen in Matthew 14:13-22; 15:32-38; Mark 6:31-34; 8:1-9; Luke 9:12-17.) For all things that the Lord did and all things connected with Him were representative because they were correspondences, so also were these things. From these and the passages cited above it is evident that a "wilderness" signifies an uncultivated and uninhabited state with man, thus a state not yet made vital from what is spiritual, consequently, as applied to the church, a state not vivified by means of truths; thus it signifies such a religious principle as the Gentiles had, which was almost empty and void, because they did not have the Word where truths are, and thence did not know the Lord who teaches truths; and as they did not have truths, their good also could be no otherwise than such as the truth was with them, for good is like its truth, because one is of the other. From this it can be seen what "wilderness" signifies where the Gentiles are treated of, namely, where there is no truth and yet a desire for it that their good may be vivified.
 3. Again, "wilderness" signifies the state of those who are in temptations, because in them truths and goods are shut in by the falsities and evils that come forth and are presented to the mind. This can be seen from the wandering of the sons of Israel in the wilderness forty years; for this represented every state of temptations into which those come who are being regenerated, and of whom the church is to consist. Every man is born natural, and lives naturally until he becomes rational; and when he has become rational he can be led by the Lord and become spiritual; and this is effected by the implanting of the knowledges of truth from the Word, and at the same time by the opening of the spiritual mind which receives the things of heaven, and by calling forth these knowledges and elevating them out of the natural man and conjoining them with the spiritual affection of truth. This opening and conjunction is possible only through temptations, because in temptations man fights interiorly against the falsities and evils that are in the natural man. In a word, man is introduced into the church and becomes a church through temptations. This was represented by the wandering and leading about of the sons of Israel in the wilderness. The state of the natural man before he is regenerated was represented by their sojourning in the land of Egypt, for "the land of Egypt" signified the natural man and its knowledges and cognitions, together with the cupidities and appetites that reside in it (as can be seen from what has been said and shown above respecting Egypt, n. 654. But the spiritual state, which is the state of the church with man, was represented by the introduction of the sons of Israel into the land of Canaan, for "the land of Canaan" signified the church with its truths and goods, together with its affections, and delights, which reside in such a man; while the reformation and regeneration of man before from being natural he becomes spiritual and thus a church, was represented by their wanderings and journeyings in the wilderness forty years.
(References: The Apocalypse Explained 654)
 That this is so, and that "the wilderness" signified a state of temptations, can be seen in Moses:
Thou shalt remember all the way which Jehovah thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that He might afflict thee and try thee, and know what was in thine heart whether thou wouldst keep His commandments or no; and He afflicted thee and made thee to hunger, and made thee to eat manna, which thou knewest not neither did thy fathers know; that He might teach thee that man doth not live by bread only, but by all that goeth forth from the mouth of Jehovah doth man live; thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, and thy foot swelled not, these forty years (Deuteronomy 8:2-4).
In the same:
In the wilderness which thou sawest, Jehovah thy God bare thee as a man doth bear his son. He went before you in the way, to seek for you a place in which ye might encamp, in fire by night to show you the way, and in the cloud by day (Deuteronomy 1:31, 33).
In the same:
Jehovah, who led thee through the great and fearful wilderness of the serpent, of the fiery serpent and of the scorpion, and of thirst, where there were no waters; who brought thee forth waters out of the rock of flint, and fed thee with manna in the wilderness, that He might afflict thee and try thee, to do thee good in thy latter end (Deuteronomy 8:15, 16).
In the same:
Jehovah found Jacob in a land of wilderness, in an emptiness, a howling, a solitude; He led him about, He instructed him, He guarded him as the pupil of the eye (Deuteronomy 32:10).
The particulars here mentioned, and all the particulars related in the book of Exodus respecting the journeyings of the sons of Israel in the wilderness, from their going forth from Egypt to their entrance into the land of Canaan, depict the temptations that the faithful encounter before they become spiritual, that is before the goods of love and charity with their truths are implanted, which constitute the church with man.
(References: Deuteronomy 8:15-16)
 He who knows what spiritual temptations are knows that when a man is in them he is so infested by evils and falsities as scarcely to know otherwise than that he is in hell; he knows, too, that the Lord with man fights against temptations from the interior; as also that He sustains man in the meantime with spiritual food and drink, which are the goods and truths of heaven; that the natural man loathes these; that nevertheless the natural man with his lusts is thus subdued and as it were dies; and that he is thus brought into subjection to the spiritual man; and that man is thus reformed and regenerated and introduced into the church. All this is involved in what is related respecting the sons of Israel in the wilderness. But to make clear that this is meant it is allowed to explain some of the particulars in the passages quoted.
 1. That man in temptations is so infested by evils and falsities as scarcely to know otherwise than that he is in hell is meant by "Jehovah led thee through the great and fearful wilderness of the serpent, of the fiery serpent, of the scorpion, and of thirst, where there were no waters;" "the great and fearful wilderness" signifies grievous temptations; "the serpent, the fiery serpent, and the scorpion," signify evils and falsities with their persuasions coming forth from the sensual and natural man; "serpents" meaning evils therefrom, "fiery serpents" falsities therefrom, and "scorpions" persuasions; "thirst where there were no waters" signifies a lack and shutting off of truth. The above is meant also by "Jehovah afflicted thee and tried thee, that He might know what was in thine heart."
 2. That the Lord with man fights against evils and falsities that are from hell is signified by "Jehovah found Jacob in a wilderness, in emptiness, a howling, a solitude, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye;" also by "He bare him as a man doth bear his son;" also by "He went before them in fire by night and in the cloud by day."
3. That the Lord sustains man in the meantime with spiritual food and drink, which are the goods and truths of heaven, is signified by "He fed them with manna, He brought them forth waters out of the rock of flint, and He led them and instructed them;" "manna" meaning the good of celestial love, and "waters out of the rock of flint" the truths of that good from the Lord.
4. That in temptations the natural man loathes those things is meant by the sons of Israel so often complaining of the manna, and lusting after the food of Egypt; therefore it is here said, "Jehovah afflicted thee and caused thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna."
 5. That nevertheless the natural man with his lusts is subdued and as it were dies and becomes subject to the spiritual man, was represented by the death in the wilderness of all those that went forth out of Egypt and desired to return thither, and refused to enter into the land of Canaan, and that their children were brought into that land. That this represented and signified such things can be known and seen only from the spiritual sense.
6. That after temptations man becomes spiritual, and is brought into the church, and through the church into heaven, was represented by their being brought into the land of Canaan, for "the land of Canaan" signified the church, and also heaven; and this is signified by "Jehovah afflicted thee and tried thee, to do thee good in thy latter end."
Their spiritual life is described by Jehovah's teaching them that "man doth not live by bread only, but by everything going forth from the mouth of Jehovah." That "their raiment waxed not old and their foot swelled not" signifies that the natural man was not injured by these afflictions, for "raiment" signifies the truths of the natural man, and the "foot" the natural man itself. Moreover "forty," whether years or days, signifies the entire duration of temptations (see above, n. 633.
(References: The Apocalypse Explained 633)
 Like things are involved in these words in David:
They wandered in the wilderness in loneliness of life, 1 they found no city of habitation, hungry and thirsty; when their soul was disheartened in the way, they cried to Jehovah. He led them in a way of straightness, 2 that they might go to a city of habitation (Psalms 107:4-7).
This was said in general of those who have been redeemed, and in particular of the sons of Israel in the wilderness, and these words describe the temptations of those who are being regenerated by the Lord. "The city of habitation which they found not" signifies the doctrine of life which constitutes the church in man; and as the church is formed in man by a life according to doctrine, when temptations have been passed through, it is said that "Jehovah led them in a way of straightness that they might go to a city of habitation;" the lack of truth even to despair, and yet desire for it, is signified by "they were hungry and thirsty, so that their soul was disheartened in the way."
 In Jeremiah:
I remembered thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness. They said not, Where is Jehovah, who made us to come up out of the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in the land of solitude and of the pit, in a land of drought and of dense shade, in a land through which no man [vir] passed, and where no man [homo] dwelt? And I led you into a land of grain, to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof (Jeremiah 2:2, 6, 7).
The "youth" and "love of espousals" that Jehovah remembered signify the state of man's reformation and regeneration, when from being natural he becomes spiritual; because man is thereby conjoined to the Lord, and as it were espoused to Him, this is what is meant by the "love of espousals;" and because this is effected through temptations it is said, "When thou wentest after Me in the wilderness;" the state of temptations is described by "He led me in the wilderness, in a land of solitude and of the pit, in a land of drought and dense shade;" "wilderness" signifying that state; "land of solitude and of the pit" signifying that state in respect to the evils and falsities that come forth, and the "land of drought and dense shade" signifying the perception of good and the understanding of truth obscured. The state of man after temptations is described by "I led you into a land of grain, to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof," which signifies to be brought into the church in which are the truths of doctrine, by means of which the good of love and of charity are appropriated; "land" signifying the church; "the land of grain" the church in respect to the truths of doctrine; "to eat" to appropriate; "fruit" the good of love, and "good" the good of charity and of life.
(References: Jeremiah 2:6-7)
 In Ezekiel:
I will lead you out from the peoples, and will gather you from the lands, and I will lead you into a wilderness of peoples, and I will plead with you there face to face, even as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt; then will I cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant (Ezekiel 20:34-37).
Here again "wilderness" stands for a state of temptations, which state is called "a wilderness of peoples" and "the wilderness of the land of Egypt," because the state of the natural man before regeneration is meant, which is a wilderness and a solitude because there are then no goods and truths in it, but only evils and falsities; but when falsities and evils have been exterminated therefrom, and truths and goods have been implanted in their place, from being a wilderness it becomes "Lebanon" and a "garden. " "To plead with them in the wilderness face to face" signifies to show them to the life of what quality they are and in a way that they acknowledge it; for in temptations man's evils and falsities come forth and appear; "face to face" means to the life and so as to be acknowledged. That after man has endured hard things, conjunction with the Lord, which is reformation, takes place, is signified by "then will I cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bonds of the covenant;" "to cause to pass under the rod" meaning to endure hard things, and "the bond of the covenant" meaning conjunction with the Lord.
 In Hosea:
I will visit upon her the days of the Baalim, in which she went after her lovers. Therefore behold, I will bring you 3 into the wilderness, and afterwards I will speak upon her heart, and I will give her her vineyards thence, and the valley of Achor for an entrance of hope, and she shall make answer there according to the days of her youth, and according to the days of her coming up out of the land of Egypt; and in that day thou shalt call Me, my Husband, and shalt no more call Me, my Baal (Hosea 2:13-16).
The "Baalim" and "lovers," after whom she went, signify the things that belong to the natural man and are loved, namely, cupidities and falsities therefrom; that these must be removed by means of temptations is signified by "I will bring you 3 into the wilderness;" that afterwards there will be consolation is signified by "afterwards I will speak upon her heart;" that they will then have spiritual and natural truths is signified by "I will give her vineyards thence and the valley of Achor." That afterwards they will have influx of good out of heaven and consequent joy, as those had who were of the ancient churches and who from natural had become spiritual, is signified by "she shall make answer or sing there according to the days of her youth, and according to the days of her coming up out of the land of Egypt," "days of youth" signifying the times of the ancient church, and "according to the days of her coming up out of Egypt," signifying when from natural they became spiritual. Conjunction with the Lord at that time through the affections of truth, when the cupidities from the natural man have been rejected, is signified by "in that day thou shalt call Me, my Husband, and thou shalt no more call Me, my Baal."
 As a "wilderness" signifies a state of temptations, and "forty," whether years or days, their whole duration from beginning to end, therefore the temptations of the Lord, which were the most direful of all, and which He sustained from childhood to the passion of the cross, are signified by the temptations of the forty days in the desert, which are thus described in the Gospels:
Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil; and when He had fasted forty days and forty nights He afterwards hungered; and the tempter drew near unto Him (Matthew 4:1-3; Luke 4:1-3).
The spirit urging Jesus caused Him to go out into the wilderness; and He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted, and He was with the beasts (Mark 1:12, 13).
This does not mean that the Lord was tempted by the devil only forty days, and at the end of these, but that He was tempted throughout His whole life even to the last, when He endured direful anguish of heart in Gethsemane and afterwards the dreadful passion of the cross; for by means of the temptations admitted into the human that He had from the mother, the Lord subjugated all the hells, and at the same time glorified His Human. (But of these temptations of the Lord see what is written in the Arcana Coelestia, and collected therefrom in the New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, n. 201.) All these temptations of the Lord are signified by the temptations in the wilderness forty days and forty nights, since the "wilderness" signifies a state of temptations, and "forty days and forty nights" the whole duration of these. No more was written respecting these in the Gospels because no more was revealed respecting them; nevertheless in the prophets, and especially in the psalms of David, they are described at length. "The beasts" with which the Lord is said to have been, signify the infernal societies; and "fasting" signifies here such affliction as there is in the combats of temptation.
(References: Mark 1:12-13)
 4. Again, "wilderness" also signifies hell, because that is called a wilderness where there is no harvest or habitation, likewise where there are wild beasts, serpents, and dragons, which signify where there is no truth of doctrine or good of life, consequently where there are lusts from evil loves, and falsities therefrom of every kind; and as these are in hell and the former in a wilderness, so from correspondences the "wilderness" also signifies hell. Moreover, the natural man with everyone, so long as it is separated from the spiritual, as it is before regeneration, is a hell, because all the hereditary evil into which man is born resides in his natural man, and is not cast out from it, that is, removed, except by the influx of Divine truth through heaven from the Lord; and this influx into the natural man can come only through the spiritual, for the natural man is in the world and the spiritual in heaven; therefore the spiritual man must be opened before the hell that is in the natural man can be removed by the Lord out of heaven.
 How this is removed was represented by the he-goat called Azazel that was cast out into the desert; for the "he-goat" from correspondence signifies the natural man in respect to his affections and knowledges, and in the contrary sense in respect to his cupidities and falsities. Of this he-goat we read thus in Moses:
That Aaron should take two he-goats and cast lots upon them, one for the he-goat to be sacrificed, the other for Azazel; and after he had expiated the Tent of meeting and the altar with the blood of the sacrificed bullock and of the sacrificed he-goat, he should lay his hands upon the head of the he-goat Azazel, and should confess upon it the iniquities and sins of the sons of Israel; which he shall put upon the head of the he-goat, and afterwards should send him by the hand of a man appointed into the wilderness. So the he-goat shall bear upon him all the iniquities of the sons of Israel into the land cut off and into the wilderness; and the skin, the flesh, and the dung of the bullock and of the sacrificed he-goat should be burned in the wilderness; thus should they be expiated and cleansed from all their sins (Leviticus 16:5-34).
These things were commanded to represent expiation, that is, purification from evils and falsities. Two he-goats were taken to represent this, because a "he-goat" from correspondence signifies the natural man; the he-goat that was to be sacrificed represented the natural man in reference to the part purified, and the he-goat that was to be sent into the wilderness the natural man not purified. And as the natural man swarms with cupidities and uncleanness of every kind, as has been said above, therefore that he-goat was sent out of the camp into a land cut off and into the wilderness that he might bear away the iniquities and sins of all in that church; "the land cut off and the wilderness" signifying hell. Aaron laying his hands upon its head and confessing the sins represented communication and transference, for this is done when man is purified or expiated from sins, for the sins are then sent down to hell, and the affections of good and truth are implanted in their place; these were represented in part by the fat sacrificed from the bullock and from the other he-goat, also by their blood, and especially by the burnt offering from the ram (respecting which see verses 5-24 in the same chapter) Leviticus 16:5-24, for the "ram" from correspondence signifies the natural man in respect to the good of charity. But it is to be known that the Israelitish people were not in the least purified from their sins by this, but the purification of the natural man when he was being regenerated was thus merely represented. All things of man's regeneration were represented by such external things, especially by sacrifices; and this was done for the sake of the conjunction of heaven with that church through the externals of worship, the internals that the externals represented being seen in the heavens. Who cannot see that the sins of the whole congregation could not be transferred to a he-goat and borne by him to hell? From this it is evident what is signified by "wilderness" in its various senses.
1. The Hebrew has "in loneliness of way," as found also in Arcana Coelestia 2708.
3. The Hebrew has "a straight way," as found also in 223.
3. The Hebrew has "her," as found in Arcana Coelestia 2708.