617. And he said unto me, Take and eat it up, signifies that he should read, perceive, and explore the Word, of what quality it is within and what it is without. This is evident from the signification of "he said unto me, Take the little book," as being the faculty given to perceive of what quality the Word is, that is, what the understanding of the Word now is in the church (see the preceding article, n. 616; and from the signification of "to eat up" (or devour), as being to conjoin and appropriate to oneself, and as the Word is conjoined to man by reading and perception, here "to eat up" or "to devour" signifies to read and perceive. "To eat up" here signifies also to explore, because it is added that "the little book made his belly bitter," and was perceived to be "in his mouth sweet as honey," and by this it was ascertained what the Word, as regards its understanding, is within and without; what it is within is signified by "the belly and its bitterness," and what it is without by the "mouth" in which it was perceived to be sweet as honey. From this it can be seen that "he said unto me, Take and eat it up," signifies that he should read, perceive, and explore the Word, of what quality it is within and of what it is without.
 "To eat" and "to drink" are often mentioned in the Word, and those who have no knowledge of the spiritual sense can have no other idea than that natural eating and drinking are thereby meant; but "to eat" and "to drink" signify to nourish oneself spiritually, consequently to appropriate to oneself good and truth, "to eat" signifying to appropriate to oneself good, and "to drink" to appropriate to oneself truth. Anyone who believes that the Word is also spiritual may know that "to eat" and "to drink," likewise "bread," "food," "wine," and "drink" mean spiritual nourishment; if they did not mean this the Word would be merely natural and not at the same time spiritual, thus merely for the natural man and not for the spiritual man, much less for angels. That "bread," "food," "wine," and "drink" mean in the spiritual sense the nourishment of the mind, has been frequently shown above; also that the Word is spiritual throughout, although in the sense of the letter it is natural. To be nourished spiritually is to be instructed and imbued, consequently to know, to understand, and to be wise. Unless a man enjoys this nourishment together with the nourishment of the body, he is not a man but a beast; and this is why those who place all delight in feastings and banquetings and daily indulge their palates are dull in spiritual things, however they may be able to reason respecting the things of the world and of the body; therefore after death they live a life that is beastly rather than human, for instead of intelligence and wisdom they have insanity and folly. This has been said to make known that here "to devour or eat up the little book" signifies to read, to perceive, and to explore the Word, for "the little book" that was in the hand of the angel coming down from heaven means the Word, as has been said above. Moreover, one cannot eat or devour a book naturally, thus not the Word; and this, too, makes clearly evident that "to eat" here signifies to be spiritually nourished.
 That "to eat" and "to drink" signify in the Word to eat and drink spiritually, which is to be instructed, and by instruction and living to imbue oneself with good and truth and to appropriate this, consequently intelligence and wisdom, can be seen from the following passages. In Jeremiah:
Thy words shall be found, that I may eat them, and Thy Word be to me for joy and for the gladness of my heart (Jeremiah 15:16).
Here "to eat" manifestly stands for spiritual eating, which is to know, to perceive, and to appropriate to oneself, for it is said, "that I may eat Thy words, and Thy Word be to me for joy and for the gladness of my heart;" the "words of God" signify His precepts or Divine truths. This is similar to what the Lord said to the tempter:
That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:3, 4;Luke 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).
Work not for the food that perisheth, but for the food that abideth unto eternal life (John 6:27).
So, too, with the words of the Lord to the disciples:
The disciples said, Rabbi, eat. But He said, I have food to eat that ye know not. The disciples said one to another, Hath anyone brought Him aught to eat? Jesus said unto them, My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to accomplish His work (John 4:31-34).
 From this, too, it is evident that "to eat" signifies in the spiritual sense to receive in the will and to do, from which is conjunction; for the Lord by doing the Divine will conjoined the Divine that was in Him with His Human, and thus appropriated the Divine to His Human. To this may be referred:
The Lord's feeding the five thousand men, besides women and children, with five loaves and two fishes, and when they had eaten and were filled they took up twelve baskets of fragments (Matthew 14:15-22; John 6:5, 6, 13, 23).
Also His feeding four thousand men from seven loaves and a few fishes (Matthew 15:32, et seq .).
This miracle was done because previously the Lord had been teaching them, and they had received and appropriated to themselves His doctrine; this is what they ate spiritually; therefore natural eating followed, that is, flowed in out of heaven with them as the manna did with the sons of Israel, unknown to them; for when the Lord wills, spiritual food which also is real food but only for spirits and angels, is changed into natural food, just as it was turned into manna every morning.
John 6:5-13; Matthew 14:15-21)
 The like is signified by "eating bread in the kingdom of God" in Luke:
I appoint unto you a kingdom that ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom (Luke 22:27, 29, 30).
Here also "to eat" and "to drink" signify to eat and drink spiritually, therefore "to eat" there signifies to receive, to perceive; and to appropriate to oneself the good of heaven from the Lord, and "to drink" signifies to receive, to perceive, and to appropriate to oneself the truth of that good; for "to eat" is predicated of good because "bread" signifies the good of love, and "to drink" is predicated of truth because "water" and "wine" signify the truth of that good. The like is signified elsewhere in Luke:
Blessed is he that eateth bread in the kingdom of God (Luke 14:15).
This is why the Lord there likened the kingdom of God:
To a great supper, to which those invited did not come, and to which only those came who were brought in from the streets (verses Luke 14:16-24).
 Spiritual eating, by which the soul is nourished, is also signified by "eating" in the following passages.
If ye will be willing and obedient ye shall eat good (Isaiah 1:19).
"To eat good" signifies spiritual good, therefore it is said, "If ye will be willing and obedient," that is, if ye will do; for spiritual food is given, conjoined, and appropriated to man by his willing and his doing therefrom.
Blessed is everyone that feareth Jehovah, that walketh in His ways. Thou shalt eat the labor of thy hands; blessed art thou, and it is good with thee (Psalms 128:1, 2).
"To eat the labor of his hands" signifies the celestial good that man receives from the Lord by a life according to Divine truths, and acquires as it were by his own labor and zeal, therefore it is said that he shall eat "who feareth Jehovah and walketh in His ways," and it is added "Blessed art thou, and it is good with thee."
 In Isaiah:
Say to the righteous that it is good, for they shall eat the fruit of their works (Isaiah 3:10).
"To eat the fruit of their works" has a similar signification as "eating the labor of their hands," mentioned above.
Thou didst eat fine flour, honey, and oil; whence thou didst become exceeding beautiful, and didst prosper even to a kingdom (Ezekiel 16:13).
This was said of Jerusalem, which signifies the church, here the Ancient Church, which was in truths and in spiritual good, and at the same time in natural good; "fine flour" signifies truth, "honey" natural good, or the good of the external man; and "oil" spiritual good, or the good of the internal man; the reception, perception, and appropriation of these goods is signified by "eating fine flour, honey, and oil;" that from these the church became intelligent is signified by "whence thou didst become exceedingly beautiful," "beauty" signifying intelligence; that from these it became a church is signified by "thou didst prosper even to a kingdom," "kingdom" signifying the church.
 In Isaiah:
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name God with us; butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to reject the evil and to choose the good. For before the boy knoweth to reject the evil and to choose the good the land which thou abhorrest shall be forsaken from before its two kings (Isaiah 7:14-16).
It is evident that the "Son" whom the virgin shall conceive and bear, and whose name shall be called "God with us," is the Lord in respect to His Human; the appropriation, in respect to the Human, of spiritual and natural Divine good is meant by "butter and honey shall He eat," spiritual Divine good by "butter," natural Divine good by "honey," and appropriation by "eating;" and because so far as it is known how to reject evil and to choose good, so far spiritual and natural Divine good is appropriated, therefore it is said, "that He may know to reject the evil and to choose the good." That the church was deserted and vastated in respect to all good and truth by knowledges falsely applied, and by reasonings therefrom, is signified by "the land which thou abhorrest shall be forsaken from before its two kings," "land" signifying the church; the desertion and devastation of it are meant by "it shall be forsaken and abhorred;" and "the two kings," who are the king of Egypt and the king of Assyria, signify knowledges wrongly applied, and reasonings therefrom, "the king of Egypt" such knowledges, and "the king of Assyria" reasonings therefrom. That these kings are meant is evident from what follows in verses 17 and 18, where Egypt and Assyria are mentioned; moreover, these things also are what chiefly devastate the church. That the Lord came into the world when there was no longer any truth and good in the church, thus when there was nothing of the church remaining, has been said several times above.
 In the same prophet:
It shall come to pass by reason of the abundance of milk that one shall eat butter; for butter and honey shall everyone eat that remains in the land (Isaiah 7:22).
This is said of a new church to be established by the Lord; and "butter and honey" signify spiritual good and natural good, and "to eat" signifies to appropriate (as above); "milk" signifies the spiritual from the celestial, from which these goods are.
 In the same:
Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no silver; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without silver and without price. Wherefore do ye weigh silver for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? In hearkening hearken unto Me, 1
and eat good, that your soul may delight itself in fatness (Isaiah 55:1, 2).
It is very clear that "to eat" signifies here to appropriate to oneself from the Lord, for it is said, "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no silver; come ye, buy and eat," which signifies that everyone who desires truth, and who had not truth before, may acquire and appropriate it from the Lord; "one that thirsts" signifies one who desires, "water" truth, "silver" the truth of good, here one who has no truth of good is meant; "to come" means to come to the Lord, "to buy" means to acquire for oneself, and "to eat" to appropriate. "Come ye, buy wine and milk without silver and without price," signifies that spiritual Divine truth and natural Divine truth may be acquired without self-intelligence, "wine" signifying spiritual Divine truth, and "milk" spiritual-natural Divine truth. "Wherefore do ye weigh silver for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not?" signifies that it is useless to endeavor to acquire from what is one's own [proprium] the good of love and that which nourishes the soul; "silver" as well as "labor" means here truth from what is one's own [proprium], or from self-intelligence, "bread" means the good of love, and "that which satisfies" that which nourishes the soul, here that which does not nourish; "In hearkening hearken unto Me" signifies that these things are from the Lord alone; "and eat ye good, that your soul may delight itself in fatness," signifies that they may appropriate to themselves celestial good, from which is every enjoyment of life, "to delight in fatness" signifying to have enjoyment from good, and "soul" signifying life.
 In the same:
The merchandise of Tyre shall be for them that dwell before Jehovah, to eat to satiety and for a covering with what is ancient (Isaiah 23:18).
"The merchandise of Tyre" signifies the knowledges of good and truth of every kind; "to dwell before Jehovah" signifies to live from the Lord; "to eat to satiety" signifies to receive, perceive, and appropriate to oneself knowledges of good sufficient for nourishing the soul; "for a covering with what is ancient" signifies to be imbued with knowledges of genuine truth; for "to cover" is predicated of truths, because "garments" signify truths clothing good, and "ancient" is predicated of what is genuine, since there were genuine truths with the ancients. The signification is similar in Moses:
That they should eat to the full, and should eat the old store long kept (Leviticus 26:5, 10).
In the same:
That they should eat and be full in the good land (Deuteronomy 11:15).
Then also that they should eat and not be satisfied (Leviticus 26:26).
 In Isaiah:
They shall build houses and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build that another may inhabit, they shall not plant that another may eat (Isaiah 65:21, 22).
Everyone knows what is signified by these words in the sense of the letter; but as the Word in its bosom is spiritual, spiritual things also are meant, that is, such things as belong to heaven and the church, for these are spiritual things. "To build houses and to inhabit them" signifies to fill the interiors of the mind with the goods of heaven and the church, and thereby to enjoy celestial life, "houses" signifying the interiors of the mind, and "to inhabit" celestial life therefrom. "To plant vineyards and to eat the fruit of them" signifies to enrich themselves with spiritual truths, and to appropriate to themselves goods therefrom; "vineyards" mean spiritual truths, "fruits" goods therefrom; and "to eat" to receive, perceive, and appropriate to themselves, for every good is appropriated to man by means of truths, that is, by a life according to them. This that has been said makes evident what is signified by "they shall not build that another may inhabit, they shall not plant that another may eat," "another" signifying falsity and evil destroying truth and good; for when truths and goods perish with man falsities and evils enter. In Jeremiah:
Build ye houses and inhabit them, and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them (Jeremiah 29:5, 28).
These words have a similar meaning as those just explained.
 In Moses:
That there shall be given in the land great and good cities which they builded not, houses full of every good thing which they did not fill, cisterns hewed out which they did not hew, vineyards and olive gardens which they did not plant; they shall eat to satiety (Deuteronomy 6:10, 11).
The natural man understands these things only according to the sense of the letter, but if the particulars contained no spiritual meaning the Word would be merely natural and not spiritual, and thus it might be believed that merely worldly opulence and abundance are promised to those who live according to the Divine commandments. "But what would it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" In other words, what would it profit a man to be given houses full of every good thing, likewise cisterns, and to have vineyards and olive gardens given him from which he might eat to satiety? But these riches enumerated are worldly riches by which are meant spiritual riches, from which man has eternal life. The "great and good cities to be given" signify doctrinals from genuine goods and truths; "houses full of every good thing" signify the interiors of the mind full of love and wisdom; "cisterns hewn" signify the interiors of the natural mind full of the knowledges of good and truth; "vineyards and olive gardens" signify all things of the church, both its truths and its goods, "vineyards" meaning the church in respect to truths, and "olive gardens" the church in respect to goods, since "wine" signifies truth, and "oil" good; "to eat to satiety" signifies full reception, perception, and appropriation.
 In Isaiah:
He shall delight in Jehovah; and I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and will feed thee with the heritage of Jacob (Isaiah 58:14).
"To make to ride upon the high places of the earth" signifies to give an understanding of higher or interior truth respecting the things of the church and of heaven; and "to feed with the heritage of Jacob" signifies to bestow all things of heaven and the church; for "the heritage of Jacob" means the land of Canaan, and that land signifies the church, and in a higher sense heaven.
 As "to eat" signifies to appropriate to oneself, it can be seen what is signified by:
Eating of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise (Revelation 2:7);
namely, to appropriate to oneself celestial life; also what is signified by "eating of the tree of knowledge" in Genesis:
Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden eating thou shalt eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of this thou shalt not eat, for in the day that thou shalt eat of it dying thou shalt die (Genesis 2:16, 17).
The "tree of the knowledge (scientia) of good and evil" signifies the knowledge of natural things, through which it is not permitted to enter into the celestial and spiritual things which belong to heaven and the church, thus to enter from the natural man into the spiritual, which is the inverse way, and therefore does not lead to wisdom, but destroys it. "Adam and his wife" mean the Most Ancient Church, which was a celestial church. Because the men of that church were in love to the Lord they had Divine truths inscribed on them, and thence they knew from influx the corresponding things in the natural man, which are called knowledges [scientifica]; in a word, there was with them spiritual influx, that is, influx from the spiritual mind into the natural, and thus into the things that are in it, and what these were they saw by correspondence as in a mirror.
 With them spiritual things were entirely distinct from natural things; spiritual things had their seat in their spiritual mind, and natural things in their natural mind, and thus they did not immerse what is spiritual in their natural mind, as spiritual-natural men are wont to do. For this reason, if they had consigned spiritual things to the natural memory, and had appropriated them to themselves in that way, that which was implanted with them would have perished, and they would have begun to reason about spiritual things from the natural man, and thus to form conclusions, which celestial men never do. This, moreover, would have been wishing to be wise from self-intelligence, and not from Divine intelligence, as before, and by this they would have extinguished all their celestial life, and they would have entertained natural ideas even about spiritual things. This, therefore, is what is signified by their "not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," and if they did eat, "dying they should die." The like is true of those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom as of these most ancient people meant by "Adam." If these were to imbue the natural man and its memory with knowledges of spiritual truth and good, and should wish to be wise from these, they would become stupid, while yet they are the wisest of all in heaven. (On this more may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell 20-28, where the Two Kingdoms, Celestial and Spiritual, into which Heaven is in general distinguished, are treated of.)
 In David:
He that did eat of My bread hath lifted up his heel against Me (Psalms 41:9).
This is said of the Jews, who had Divine truths because they had the Word, as can be seen in John (John 13:18), where these words are applied to the Jews; therefore "to eat the Lord's bread" signifies the appropriation of Divine truth, but here a communication of it, for the Jews could not appropriate it. "Bread" signifies the Word, from which is spiritual nutrition. "To lift up the heel against Him" signifies to pervert the sense of the letter of the Word even to denial of the Lord, and the falsification of every truth. For the Divine truth is presented in image as a man; this is why heaven in its whole complex is called the Greatest Man, and corresponds to all things of man; for heaven is formed according to the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord; and as the Word is the Divine truth, this, too, before the Lord is in image like a Divine Man; for this reason its ultimate sense, which is the mere sense of the letter, corresponds to the heel. The perversion of the Word, or of the Divine truth, by applying the sense of the letter to falsities, such as were the traditions of the Jews, is signified by "lifting up the heel against the Lord." The whole heaven is in image like a man, and thence corresponds to all things of man, and heaven is such because it was created and formed by the Lord by means of the Divine truth proceeding from Him, which is the Word by which all things were made (John 1:1-3), as may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell 59-102, and n. 200-212).
 In Luke:
They shall begin to say, We did eat before Thee and drink before Thee, and Thou didst teach in our streets. But He shall say, I know you not whence ye are; depart, ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:26, 27).
Their saying, when presented for judgment, that they "ate and drank before the Lord," signifies that they had read the Word and drawn from it the knowledges of good and truth, supposing that this would save them; therefore it follows, "Thou didst teach in our streets," which signified that they had been instructed in truths from the Word, thus by the Lord. But that reading the Word and being instructed from it is of no avail for salvation, without at the same time a life according to it, is signified by the answer, "He shall say, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity;" for it is of no avail for salvation to enrich the memory from the Word and from the doctrinals of the church, unless they are committed to life.
 In Matthew:
The king said to them on his right hand, I was an hungered and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty and ye gave me to drink. And to those on the left hand, I was an hungered and ye gave me not to eat; I was thirsty and ye gave me not to drink (Matthew 25:34, 35, 41, 42).
By these words also spiritual hunger and thirst and spiritual eating and drinking are signified; spiritual hunger and thirst are the affection and desire for good and truth, and spiritual eating and drinking are instruction, reception, and appropriation. It is said here that the Lord hungered and thirsted, because from His Divine love He desires the salvation of all; and it is said that men gave Him to eat and to drink; which is done when from affection they receive and perceive good and truth from the Lord, and by means of the life appropriate them to themselves. The like may be said of a man who from his heart loves to instruct man and desires his salvation; therefore it is charity, or the spiritual affection of truth, that is described by these words and those that follow.
Matthew 25:31, 25:41-42)
 From what has been said it can now be seen what is signified in the spiritual sense by eating bread and drinking wine in the Holy Supper, Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; where it is also said, that the bread is the Lord's body, and the wine is His blood. There "bread" signifies the good of love, and "wine" truth from that good, which is the good of faith, and "flesh and blood," have a similar signification, also "eating" signifies appropriation and conjunction with the Lord, as can be seen from what is said and shown in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 210-222). That such is the signification of "bread and wine," and "body and blood," also of "eating," becomes still more evident from the Lord's words in John:
fathers did eat the manna in the wilderness, and they are dead. This is the bread which cometh down out of heaven; if anyone shall eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood ye have not life in you. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him. This is that bread that came down out of heaven. He that eateth of this bread shall live forever (John 6:49-58).
Anyone who has the ability to think interiorly can see that neither flesh nor blood nor bread nor wine, are here meant, but the Divine proceeding from the Lord; for it is the Divine proceeding, which is Divine good and Divine truth, that gives eternal life to man, and causes the Lord to abide in man, and man in the Lord; for the Lord is in man in His own Divine and not in what is man's own [proprium], for this is nothing but evil; and the Lord is in man, and man in the Lord, when the Divine proceeding is appropriated to man by a right reception. The appropriation itself is signified by "eating," the Divine good proceeding, by "flesh" and "bread," and the Divine truth proceeding, by "blood" and "wine." It was similar in the sacrifices, in which the "flesh" and the "meal-offering," which was bread, signified the good of love, and the "blood" and "wine," which were the drink-offering, signified truth from that good, both from the Lord. Since "flesh" and "bread" signify the Divine good proceeding, and "blood" and "wine," the Divine truth proceeding, "flesh" and "bread" mean the Lord Himself in relation to Divine good, and "blood" and "wine," the Lord Himself in relation to Divine truth. The Lord Himself is meant by these, because the Divine proceeding is the Lord Himself in heaven and in the church; therefore the Lord says of Himself, "This is the bread that cometh down out of heaven;" also "He that eateth and drinketh these abideth in Me, and I in him."
Mark 14:22-23; Matthew 26:26-27)
 Because "bread" signifies the Lord in relation to Divine good, and "to eat it" signifies appropriation and conjunction:
When the Lord manifested Himself to the disciples after His death, when He brake bread and gave to them, their eyes were opened and they knew Him (Luke 24:30, 31).
This, too, shows that "to eat bread" given by the Lord signifies conjunction with Him. Enlightened by this the disciples knew Him; for "eyes" in the Word correspond to the understanding and thence signify it, and this is what is enlightened; and thence "their eyes were opened." "To break bread" signifies in the Word to communicate one's good to another.
 The Lord ate with publicans and sinners:
At which the Jews murmured and were offended (Mark 2:15, 16; Luke 5:29, 32; 7:33-35);
because the Gentiles that are meant by "publicans and sinners" received the Lord, imbibed His precepts, and lived according to them, and by this means the Lord appropriated to them the goods of heaven, and this is signified in the spiritual sense by "eating with them."
Luke 5:29-30; Mark 2:15-16)
 Because "to eat" signifies to be appropriated, it was granted to the sons of Israel to eat of the sanctified things or of the sacrifices, for the "sacrifices" signified Divine celestial and spiritual things, and thus "eating" of them signified their appropriation. Because the appropriation of holy things was signified by such "eating," various laws were given, prescribing who should eat and where they should eat and of what sacrifices, thus:
What Aaron and his sons should receive and eat of the sacrifices (Exodus 29:31-33; Leviticus 6:16-18; 7:6, 7; 8:31-33; 10:13-15);
That they should eat the shew-bread in the holy place (Leviticus 24:5-9);
That the daughter of a priest married to a stranger should not eat of the holy things, but that the daughter of a priest being a widow or divorced, who had no child, but was returned to the house of her father, might eat (Leviticus 22:12, 13);
Who of the people might eat (Numbers 18:10, 11, 13, 19);
That a stranger, a sojourner, a hired servant of a priest, should not eat of them, but that one bought with silver might eat (Leviticus 22:10-12);
That one who was unclean must not eat (Leviticus 7:19-21; 21:16-24 end; Leviticus 22:2-8);
That they should eat no part of the burnt-offerings, but of the eucharistic sacrifices they should eat and be glad before Jehovah (Deuteronomy 12:27; 27:7).
In these and many other statutes and laws respecting the eating of things sanctified are contained arcana respecting the appropriation of Divine good and Divine truth, and thus of conjunction with the Lord; but this is not the place to unfold the particulars, only let it be known from the passages cited, that "to eat" signifies to be appropriated and conjoined. So again:
When the sons of Israel were joined to the Lord by the blood of the covenant, and when Moses had read the book of the law before them, and they presently saw the God of Israel, it is said that they did eat and drink (Exodus 24:6-11).
Leviticus 7:6-7, Leviticus 22:12-13; Numbers 18:10-11)
 That "to eat flesh and drink blood" signifies the appropriation of spiritual good and truth, can be seen in Ezekiel:
Thus said the Lord Jehovih, Gather yourselves from every side to My sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the blood of the princes of the earth. And ye shall eat fat to satiety, and drink blood even to drunkenness, of My sacrifice which I sacrifice for you. Ye shall be satiated at My table with horse and with chariot, with the mighty man and with every man of war. So will I give My glory among the nations (Ezekiel 39:17-21).
This treats of the calling together of all to the Lord's kingdom, and in particular the establishment of the church with the Gentiles, for it is said, "so will I give My glory among the nations." "To eat flesh and drink blood" means to appropriate to oneself Divine good and Divine truth, "flesh" signifying the good of love, and "blood" the truth of that good; "the mighty" (or oxen) signify the affections of good, "the princes of the earth" the affections of truth. The full fruition of these is signified by "eating fat to satiety, and drinking blood to drunkenness," "fat" signifying interior goods, and "blood" interior truths, which were disclosed by the Lord when He came into the world, and were appropriated by those who received Him.
 Before the Lord's coming into the world, to eat fat and drink blood was forbidden, because the sons of Israel were in externals only, for they were natural-sensual men, and not at all in things internal or spiritual, consequently if they had been permitted to eat fat and blood, which signifies the appropriation of interior goods and truths, they would have profaned them, therefore "eating fat and blood" signified profanation. "To be satiated at the Lord's table with horse and with chariot, with the mighty man and with every man of war" has a similar signification; "horse" signifying the understanding of the Word; "chariot," the doctrine from the Word; "the mighty man and the man of war," good and truth fighting against evil and falsity and destroying them, and "the mountains of Israel upon which they should eat," the spiritual church in which the good of charity is the essential. All this makes very clear that "to eat" signifies to appropriate to oneself, and that "flesh," "blood," "mighty man," "princes of the earth," "horse," "chariot," and "man of war," signify the spiritual things that are to be appropriated, and by no means natural things, for to eat such things naturally would be abominable and diabolical. Similar things are signified by:
Eating the flesh of kings, of commanders of thousands, of horses, and of them that sit upon them, free and bond (Revelation 19:18).
 As most things in the Word have also a contrary sense, so have "to eat" and "to drink;" and in that sense they signify to appropriate evil and falsity, and thus to be conjoined to hell; as can be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:
In that day will the Lord Jehovih call to weeping and to lamentation, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth; and behold, gladness and joy in slaying an ox and slaughtering a sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine; let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die (Leviticus 22:12, 13).
The devastation of the church and lamentation over it are signified by "to be called in that day to weeping, lamentation, baldness, and girding with sackcloth;" lamentation over the destruction of truth is signified by "weeping," over the destruction of good by "lamentation," over the destruction of all affection of good by "baldness," and over the destruction of the affection of truth by "sackcloth;" "to slay an ox and to slaughter a sheep" signifies to extinguish natural good and spiritual good; "to eat flesh and drink wine" signifies to appropriate evil and falsity, "flesh" here signifying evil, "wine," the falsity of evil, and "to eat and drink" these, to appropriate to oneself.
 In Ezekiel:
The prophet was told to eat food by weight and with care, and to drink water by measure and with astonishment; and that he should eat a cake of barley made with dung; and that thus shall the sons of Israel eat their bread unclean among the nations whither they shall be thrust out, and they shall be in want of bread and water, and be made desolate, a man and his brother, and shall waste away for their iniquity (Ezekiel 4:10-17).
These words in the prophet represented the adulteration of Divine truth, or of the Word, with the Jewish nation; "the cake of barley made with dung" signifies such adulteration, "a cake of barley" meaning natural good and truth, such as the Word is in the sense of the letter, and "dung," infernal evil; therefore it is said, "thus shall the sons of Israel eat their bread unclean," "bread unclean" meaning good defiled with evil, that is, adulterated. That "they would be in want of bread and water among the nations whither they should be driven" signifies that they would no more have good and truth because of being in evils and falsities, "nations" signifying evils and falsities, and "to be thrust out thither," to be delivered up to these; "man and brother" who shall be made desolate, signify faith and charity, "man" signifying the truth of faith, and "brother," the good of charity, and "to be made desolate," the complete extinction of both. This being the signification of "eating bread and drinking water" it is said that "they shall waste away for their iniquity;" "to waste away" is predicated of spiritual life, when it is perishing.
 As "beasts" signify affections, some beasts good affections and others evil affections, there were laws established for the sons of Israel, with whom the church was representative, as to what beasts should be eaten and what should not be eaten (Leviticus 11); and these signified what beasts represented good affections that should be appropriated, and what beasts evil affections that should not be appropriated, since good affections render a man clean, while evil affections render him unclean. All things in that chapter relating to particular beasts and birds, and to their hoofs, feet, and cud, by which the clean are distinguished from the unclean, are significative.
 In Isaiah:
If he shall cut down 3
on the right hand he shall still be hungry, and if he shall eat on the left hand they shall not be satisfied; they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm; Manasseh Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh (Isaiah 9:20, 21).
This describes the extinction of good by falsity and of truth by evil; the extinction of all good and truth, however it is sought for, is signified by "if he shall cut down on the right hand he shall still be hungry, and if he shall eat on the left hand they shall not be satisfied;" "to cut down and to eat" on the right and left means to search for, "to be hungry and not be satisfied" means not to be found, or if found to have no ability to receive; "they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm" signifies that falsity shall consume good, and evil truth, in the natural man; "Manasseh Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh," signifies that the will of evil shall consume the understanding of truth, and the understanding of falsity shall consume the will of good. (But this may be seen explained above, n. 386, 600.)
 The consumption of all truth and good is signified by:
Their eating the flesh of their sons and daughters (Leviticus 26:29).
The fathers shall eat the sons, and the sons shall eat the fathers (Ezekiel 5:10).
"Fathers" signify the goods of the church, and in the contrary sense its evils; "sons" signify the truths of the church, and in the contrary sense its falsities; "daughters," the affections of truth and good, and in the contrary sense the desires for falsity and evil; the consumption and extinction of these one by another are signified by their "eating one another." This makes evident that these things must be understood otherwise than according to the sense of the letter.
 In Matthew:
In the consummation of the age it shall be as it was before the flood, eating and drinking, contracting marriage, and giving in marriage (Matthew 24:38; Luke 17:26-28).
"To eat and drink, to contract marriage, and give in marriage" does not mean here to eat and drink, nor to contract marriage, and give in marriage, but "to eat" means to appropriate evil, "to drink" to appropriate falsity, "to contract marriage and give in marriage," to conjoin falsity with evil, and evil with falsity; for this treats of the state of the church when the Last Judgment is at hand; for this is signified by "the consummation of the age." Evidently the good as well as the evil will then be eating and drinking, for there is nothing evil in eating and drinking, and this they also did before the flood, and it was not on this account that they perished, but because they appropriated to themselves evil and falsity, and conjoined these in themselves; this, therefore, is what is here signified by "eating and drinking, and by contracting in marriage and giving in marriage."
Luke 17:26-27; Matthew 24:37-39)
 In Luke:
The rich man said to his soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thy rest, eat, drink (Luke 12:19).
If that servant shall say in his heart, The Lord delayeth to come; and shall begin to beat the servants, to eat, to drink, and to be drunken (Luke 12:45).
So, too, by surfeiting and drunkenness, in the same:
Jesus said, Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with surfeiting and drunkenness (Luke 21:34).
It seems as if "eating and drinking" and "surfeiting" in these passages mean such luxury and intemperance as those indulge in who follow appetite only; this is indeed the natural literal sense of these words; but in their spiritual sense they mean the appropriation of evil and falsity, as can be seen from the passages cited above, where this is signified by "eating and drinking," also from this, that the Word in the letter is natural, but interiorly is spiritual; the spiritual sense is for the angels, and the natural for men.
 Besides these many other passages might be cited from the Word, testifying and confirming that "to eat" signifies to receive, perceive, and appropriate to oneself such things as nourish the soul; for "to eat" spiritually is simply to imbue the mind with its own food, which is to wish to know, understand, and become wise in such things as pertain to eternal life. That this is the signification of "to eat" can be seen also from the signification of "bread" and "food," as also of "famine" and "hunger," and of "wine" and "water," which have been treated of above in their proper places. Since "to eat" means to perceive the quality of a thing, and this is perceived by its taste, it is from correspondence that in human language taste [sapor] and to have a taste [sapere] are predicated of the perception of a thing, and from this comes wisdom [sapientia].
Ezekiel 39:17-22; Leviticus 22:10-13; Luke 14:15-24; Matthew 14:15-21, Matthew 24:37-39; Revelation 10:9)