The Bible

Exodus 23:14-19 : The Three Annual Festivals

Study the Inner Meaning

14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.

15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)

16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.

17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.

18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.

19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

Study the Inner Meaning

Main explanation(s) from Swedenborg's works:

Arcana Coelestia 9285, 9286, 9287, 9288, 9289, 9290, 9291 ...

Commentary on this text:

Stories:

Other references by Swedenborg to this text:

Arcana Coelestia 1001, 2342, 2405, 2788, 3519, 4262, 7906 ...

Apocalypse Revealed 623, 939

Show references from Swedenborg's unpublished works


Commentary

Three Feasts

A loaf of homemade bread.

The Children of Israel were told to keep three feasts each year - the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of first fruits, and the feast of ingathering. Should we still do that?

In Exodus 23:14-16, Moses receives the instructions about these feasts. Those three verses in Exodus comprise our brief story. Their inner meaning is explained in Arcana Coelestia 9286-9296.

There are three feasts. In the Word, the number three represents a completeness, a sense of things being covered from beginning to end. Our thankfulness to the Lord is supposed to keep going - to endure.

The first feast, of unleavened bread, stands for worship, for our thankfulness for the Lord's action in our minds to get rid of false ideas. That enables us to start to receive good loves.

The second feast, of first fruits, relates to the planting of true ideas in that "soil" of initial loves for doing good.

The third feast, of harvest, or ingathering, stands for the time when, by applying our true ideas, we receive real good - loves of the neighbor and of the Lord - that become the middle of our lives. This is the state of rebirth, where we have - by working through the year (our lives), and enduring in thankfulness, allowed the Lord to get rid of our false ideas, and push our evil loves to the periphery, so that good can work, and be fruitful.

These feasts, then, represent the progress of our spiritual lives. In some manner, we need to keep them.

From Swedenborg's Works

Apocalypse Explained #412

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

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412. And hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the anger of the Lamb. That this signifies, lest they should suffer direful things from the influx of Divine good united to the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, is plain from the signification of, "hide us," when it is said by those in whom the goods and truths of the church are destroyed by evils of life and the falsities thence, as denoting, lest they should suffer direful things, concerning which we shall speak presently; from the signification of, "from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne," as denoting the Lord as to Divine good in heaven; that face, when said of the Lord, denotes the Divine love, from which the Divine good in heaven is, will be plain from the passages in the Word to be adduced presently, and that, "Him that sitteth upon the throne" denotes the Lord as to Divine good in heaven, may be seen above (n. 297, 343); and from the signification of, "the anger of the Lamb," as denoting the casting into hell by the influx of Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. That the anger of Jehovah or the Lord signifies this, is evident from the passages in the Word to be adduced in the following article. Moreover, that the Lord alone is meant by Him that sitteth upon the throne, and by the Lamb; the Lord as to Divine good by Him that sitteth upon the throne, and the Lord as to Divine truth by the Lamb, may be seen above (n. 297, 343). That the anger of the Lamb is mentioned, is not that the Lord, who is meant by Him that sitteth on the throne and by the Lamb, is angry, for He is the Divine good itself, and this cannot be angry, for anger can have no place in essential good; but it is thus said in the sense of the letter of the Word for reasons which we shall explain elsewhere; here it shall only be shown that the face of Jehovah or of the Lord signifies the Divine love, and thence the Divine good in heaven and in the church; and, in the opposite sense, by setting His face against any one, and by concealing and hiding His face, is meant the same as by wrath and anger; also, that by the face, when said of man, are meant the interiors of his mind, and affection in both senses.

(References: Revelation 6:16; The Apocalypse Explained 297, The Apocalypse Explained 343)


[2] That the face, when said of Jehovah or the Lord, signifies the Divine love, and thence the Divine good, is plain from the following passages.

In David:

"Make thy faces to shine upon thy servant; save me for thy mercy's sake" (Ps. xxxi. 16).

To make the faces shine, signifies to enlighten Divine truth from Divine love; that this is signified by, to make the faces shine, is because the Divine, truth, which proceeds from the Lord as a Sun in the angelic heaven, communicates all the light there, and also enlightens the minds of the angels, and fills them with wisdom; therefore the faces of the Lord, in the proper sense, is the Sun of the angelic heaven; for the Lord appears to the angels of the interior heavens as a Sun, and this from His Divine love, for love in the heavens, when it is presented before the eyes, appears as fire, but the Divine love, as a Sun; from that Sun proceed both heat and light, and that heat is the Divine good, and that light is the Divine truth. From these things it is evident that by making Thy faces shine upon Thy servant, is signified to enlighten the Divine truth from the Divine good; therefore also it is added, "save me for thy mercy's sake"; mercy being of the Divine good. (But concerning the sun in the angelic heaven, and concerning the heat and light thence, see the work concerning Heaven and Hell - concerning the Sun there, n. 116-125, and concerning the heat and light thence, n. 126-140.)

(References: Heaven and Hell 116-125, Heaven and Hell 126-140; Psalms 31:16)


[3] In the same:

"Many say, Who will shew us good? lift up upon us the light of thy faces, O Jehovah" (Ps. iv. 6).

In the same:

"They shall walk, O Jehovah, in the light of thy faces" (Ps. lxxxix. 15).

In the same:

"Bring us back, O God, and cause thy faces to shine, that we may be saved" (Ps. lxxx. 3, 7, 19).

And in the same:

"God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his faces to shine upon us" (Ps. lxvii. 1).

By the light of the faces of Jehovah or of the Lord, is meant the Divine truth from the Divine love, as said above, and thence intelligence and wisdom, for from the Divine truth, or the Divine light in the heavens, are all the intelligence and wisdom, both of angels and men; hence by making Thy faces to shine upon us, by lifting up upon us the light of Thy faces, and by causing Thy faces to shine, is signified to enlighten in Divine, truth, and to gift with intelligence and wisdom.

(References: Psalms 4:6, Psalms 67:1, Psalms 80:3, 80:7, 80:19, Psalms 89:15)


[4] The same is signified in the blessing of the sons of Israel, in Moses:

"Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee; Jehovah make his faces shine upon thee, and be merciful unto thee; Jehovah lift up his faces upon thee, and give thee peace" (Num. vi. 24-26).

By, making His faces shine, and being merciful, is signified to enlighten in Divine truth, and to impart intelligence and wisdom; and by lifting up His faces, and giving peace is signified to fill with Divine good, and to gift with love. Both are necessary to make man wise; for all those who are in the spiritual world are enlightened by the light which [proceeds] from the Lord as a Sun, but still they alone become intelligent and wise, who are at the same time in love, because the good of love receives truth, for they are conjoined since they mutually agree with and love each other. They only, therefore, see the Sun in heaven who are in love; others [see] only the light. To be merciful, which is said of the enlightenment of the faces, is also said of truth in the Word, and peace, which is said of the lifting up of the faces, is said of good.

(References: Numbers 6:24-26)


[5] Because the Lord's Divine love appears as a Sun in heaven, and thence proceeds the light there, therefore:

"When the Lord was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became as the light" (Matt. xvii. 1, 2).

And also when He appeared to John:

His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength (Apoc. i. 16).

By His raiment, which became as the light, is signified Divine truth; for raiment in the Word signifies truth, and this because all the angels are clothed by the Lord according to their reception of Divine truth; their garments also are from the light of heaven, consequently shining, and bright, and the light of heaven, as was said, is Divine truth. Hence it is plain why the Lord's raiment when He was transfigured became as the light (but concerning these things more may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 177-182; also above, n. 64, 195, 271, 395).

(References: Heaven and Hell 177-182; Matthew 17:2; Revelation 1:16; The Apocalypse Explained 64, The Apocalypse Explained 195, The Apocalypse Explained 271, The Apocalypse Explained 395)


[6] In Matthew:

Jesus said of the boy whom he had placed in the midst of his disciples, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; I say unto you, That their angels in the heavens do always behold the face of my Father who is in the heavens" (xviii. 10).

Here it is said that their angels behold, because there are spirits and angels with every man, and according to the quality of the man, such are the spirits and angels. With infant boys there are angels from the inmost heaven, who see the Lord as a Sun; for they are in love to Him, and in innocence; this is meant in a proximate sense by, their angels behold the face of His Father. By the face of the Father is meant the Divine love which was in the Lord, consequently, the essential Divine, which is Jehovah, for the Father was in Him, and He in the Father, and they were one, as He Himself teaches. But these same words in the purely spiritual sense signify, that the Lord, as to His Divine good, is in the good of innocence, for this is signified by an infant boy in the spiritual sense, and by the face of the Father [is signified] the Lord's Divine good. The same thing is taught in the Apocalypse concerning the Lord's servants, by whom are meant those who are in Divine truths, from their being in the good of love and charity:

"The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in the New Jerusalem; and his servants shall serve him; and they shall see his face" (xxii. 3, 4).

But concerning these words see the explanation in the following chapters.

(References: Matthew 18:10; Revelation 22:3-4)


[7] In Isaiah:

"In all their straitness he was straitened, and the angel of his faces delivered them; for his love and his pity be redeemed them; and he took them, and carried them all the days of eternity" (lxiii. 9).

The Lord is here treated of, who is called the angel of the faces of Jehovah from the Divine truth which is from His Divine love; for by an angel in the Word is signified Divine truth, whence angels are also called gods (as may be seen above, n. 130, 200, 302); and by the faces of Jehovah is meant the Divine love which is in the Lord, whence it is also said, "for his love and his pity he redeemed them; and he took them, and carried them all the days of eternity," these things being of the Divine love. The Lord, as to His Human, was the Divine truth, from which He fought with the hells, and by which He subjugated them. Hence it is that He is called an angel, that is as to His Divine Human. The Lord is evidently treated of in that chapter, and His combats with the hells, and the subjugation of them.

(References: Isaiah 63:9; The Apocalypse Explained 130, The Apocalypse Explained 200, The Apocalypse Explained 302)


[8] In David:

"Thou hidest them in the secret of thy faces from the loftiness of man; thou concealest them in thy pavilion from the strife of tongues" (Ps. xxxi. 20).

To hide them in the secret of Thy faces, denotes, in the Divine good not appearing before others; and to conceal in Thy pavilion, denotes [to be kept] in the Divine truth. The loftiness of man, and the strife of tongues, denote the evils of falsity, and the falsities of evil; for loftiness is said of evils because they are of self-love; and man signifies truth and falsity; the strife of tongues denotes the falsity of evil. (What the evil of falsity and the falsity of evil are, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 21.)

(References: Psalms 31:20; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 21)


[9] In the same:

"Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret in the light of thy faces" (Ps. xc. 8).

"The light of thy faces," denotes the light of heaven from the Lord as the Sun there. Because this light is the very Divine truth from which are all intelligence and wisdom, therefore the quality of whatever comes into this light is manifested as in clear day; hence it is, that when the evil come into this light, they appear entirely according to their quality, deformed and monstrous according to the evils concealed in them. From these things it is evident what is meant by, "Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, and our secret in the light of thy faces."

(References: Psalms 90:8)


[10] In Jeremiah:

"Proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, [and] I will not cause my faces to fall upon you; for I am merciful" (iii. 12).

By my faces here also is signified the Divine love, or every good which is of love; and by not causing the faces to fall is signified not to let fall and to cease, for when the countenance falls, it then ceases to regard; hence it is evident what is signified by, "I will not cause my faces to fall upon you." Therefore also it is said, "for I am merciful," mercy being the Divine love towards the wretched. By, proclaim towards the north, is signified, to those who are in falsities and thence in evils; therefore it is also said, return, O backsliding Israel. The reason why the north signifies those is, because those who are in falsities and thence in evils, dwell in the northern quarter in the spiritual world. (Concerning falsities and the evils thence, see the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 21.) The reason why the bread upon the table in the tabernacle was called the bread of faces, and the table itself the table of faces (Exod. xxv. 30; Num. iv. 7), was, because by bread there, just as by the faces of Jehovah, was signified the Divine good of the Divine love (as may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 212, 213, 218).

(References: Exodus 25:30; Jeremiah 3:9, Jeremiah 3:12; Numbers 4:7; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 21, The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 212-213, 218)


[11] Because by the faces of Jehovah or the Lord, is signified the Divine good united with the Divine truth, going forth and proceeding from His Divine love, therefore by the faces of Jehovah are also signified the interior things of the church, of the Word, and of worship, for that [Divine good] is in the interiors of those things; the exterior things of the church, of the Word, and of worship, being only the effects and works thence. The interior things of the church, of the Word, and of worship, are signified by seeing, seeking, and beseeching the faces of Jehovah, Isaiah:

"What is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? when ye come to see the faces of Jehovah" (i. 11, 12).

In Zechariah:

"The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying In going let us go to beseech the faces of Jehovah, and to seek Jehovah of hosts; thus many peoples and numerous nations shall come to seek Jehovah of hosts in Jerusalem, and supplicate the faces of Jehovah" (viii. 21, 22).

In David:

Unto thee my heart hath said, Seek my faces; thy faces, O Jehovah, I do seek" (Ps. xxvii. 8).

In the same:

"Let us make a joyful noise unto the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before his faces with confession" (Ps. xcv. 1, 2).

In Malachi:

"Beseech the faces of God, that he may be merciful unto us" (i. 9).

In David:

"My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God; when shall I come that I may behold the faces of God? Wait thou for God; for I shall yet confess to him; his faces are salvation" (xlii. 2, 6).

In these passages, by the faces of Jehovah and God, or the Lord, are meant the interior things of the church, of the Word, and of worship; because Divine good, and Divine truth, thus the Lord Himself, are in them, and from them in externals, but not in the externals, namely, of the church, of the Word, and of worship, without them.

(References: Isaiah 1:11-12; Malachi 1:9; Psalms 27:8, Psalms 42:2, 42:5, Psalms 95:1-2; Zechariah 8:21-22)


[12] Because all those who went to the feast at Jerusalem were bound to carry with them such things as pertained to worship, and all worship is from the interior things of the heart and the faith, and these are signified by the gifts that were offered to the Lord, it was therefore commanded that every one should offer some gift, which is meant by,

"They shall not see my faces empty" (Exod. xxiii. 15).

The interior things of the church, of the Word, and of worship, are also signified by these words in Moses:

Jehovah spake unto Moses, "My faces shall go, until I give thee rest." Then Moses said, "If thy faces go not, make us not go up hence" (Exod. xxxiii. 14, 15).

This was spoken to Moses, because with that nation the Word was to be written, and also respecting that nation in the historical parts of the Word, because a church was to be instituted among them, which would be a representative church consisting of external things that corresponded to things internal; on this account it was said, "My faces shall go" (concerning which more may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 10,567, 10,568, where they are explained).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 10567-10568; Exodus 23:15, Exodus 33:14-15)


[13] But because that nation was only in the externals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, and not at all in the internals, therefore it was not granted to Moses to see the Lord's face, but the back only, according to these words in Moses:

"Moses said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory; to whom he said, I will make all my goodness to pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of Jehovah before thee; thou canst not see my faces; for there shall no man see me and live. I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and when I take away my hand, thou shalt see my back parts; but my faces shall not be seen" (Exod. xxiii. 18-23).

Here Moses represented that nation with respect to their quality as to the understanding of the Word, and as to the church and worship thence, namely, that [it was] only in externals without internals, the externals being represented and signified by the back parts of Jehovah which were seen by Moses, and the internals by the front parts and the face. That the internals that were in the externals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, were not seen, neither could be seen, by that nation, was represented and signified by Moses being placed in the cleft of a rock, and being covered with the hand of Jehovah whilst He passed by. But these things are more fully explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 10,573-10,584).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 10573; Exodus 33:18-23)


[14] Moreover, the faces of Jehovah or the Lord, because they denote the internals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, are especially external things in which are internal things, because internals make themselves to be seen in externals, as the internals of man do in his face and look. But the Jewish people were of such a nature that they beheld externals only, and not at all the internals; and to behold externals and not at the same time internals, or externals without internals, is as it were to behold the image of a man which is without life; but to behold externals, and at the same time internals, or externals from internals, is as it were to behold a living man; this, therefore, is, in the proper sense, to see the face of Jehovah, or to beseech His faces, in the passages adduced above.

[15] Because the internals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, appear in externals, or cause themselves to be seen in externals, comparatively as the internals of man do in the face, it is evident what is signified, in the internal sense, by seeing Jehovah or the Lord face to face, in the following passages.

In Moses:

"I have seen God face to face, and yet my soul is preserved" (Gen. xxxii. 30).

Jacob said these words after he had wrestled with God, who had appeared to him as an angel. In the book of Judges:

"Gideon said, I have seen the angel of Jehovah face to face. And Jehovah said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not; thou shalt not die" (vi. 22, 23).

In the same manner Manoah and his wife (Judg. xiii. 22, 23). And concerning the Israelitish people:

"Jehovah spake with you face to face from the mount, out of the midst of the fire" (Deut. v. 4);

concerning which circumstance it is thus said more fully:

"Jehovah hath caused [us] to see his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire; we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he continueth to live" (Deut. v. 24).

And concerning Moses:

"Jehovah spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his companion" (Exod. xxxiii. 11; xxxiv. 10).

(References: Deuteronomy 5:4, 5:24, Deuteronomy 34:10; Exodus 33:11, Exodus 34:10, 34:10-12; Genesis 32:30; Judges 6:22-23, 13:22-23, 13:21-23)


[16] It should, however, be known, that no man, nor even any angel, can see the Lord's face, because it is Divine love, and no one can bear the Divine love, such as it is in itself; for to see the Lord's face would be like letting the eye into the very fire of the sun, in which case it would instantly perish; such also is the Divine love viewed in itself; therefore the Lord appears to those in the interior heavens as a Sun, and that Sun is encompassed with many radiant circles, which form coverings one above another, in order that the Divine love may proceed tempered and moderated to the angels in heaven, and that the angels may thereby bear it; the Lord therefore appears as a Sun only to the angels of the higher heavens, but to the angels of the lower heavens He appears only as light, and to the rest as a moon. Still, however, the Lord does appear to the angels in heaven, but then it is under an angelic form; for He fills an angel with His own aspect, and thus with His presence afar off, and this in various places, but everywhere accommodated to the good of love and faith with those to whom He appears; thus the Lord was seen by Gideon, also by Manoah and his wife, likewise by Moses, and by the Israelitish people. This therefore is what is meant by their seeing Jehovah face to face, and by their seeing Jehovah and not dying. That the face itself, as to the interiors of His Divine love, was not seen, is plainly evident from what was said to Moses, namely,

"That no one can see Jehovah's face and live" (Exod. xxxiii. 20)

and yet it is said that they saw Jehovah face to face; from which it is plainly evident, that to see Jehovah's faces, in the passages adduced above, signifies to see Him in the interior things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, which yet is to see Him in externals from internals. That the Jewish nation was in the externals of the Word, of the church, and of worship without internals, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 248. (What the external is without the internal; and what the external is in which is the internal, in n. 47 of the same work.)

(References: Exodus 33:20; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 47, The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 248)


[17] That the Jewish nation was of such a quality, was represented and signified by,

"They covered the Lord's face, beat him, and spat upon him" (Matt. xxvi. 67; Mark xiv. 65; Luke xxii. 64).

For all things related concerning the Lord's passion represent and signify arcana of heaven and the church, and specifically the quality of the Jews as to the Word, the church, and worship. That it is so, may be seen above (n. 64, 83, 195 at the end).

(References: Luke 22:64; Mark 14:65; Matthew 26:67; The Apocalypse Explained 64, 83, The Apocalypse Explained 195)


[18] From the passages that have been already explained, it may be known what the face of Jehovah or the Lord signifies, namely, the Divine love, and all the good in heaven and in the church thence. From this also it may be known what is signified by hiding or covering the faces, where it is said of Jehovah or the Lord, namely, that it is to leave man in his proprium, and thence in the evils and falsities that flow from his proprium; for man viewed in himself is nothing but evil and the falsity thence, and he is withheld from these by the Lord, that he may be in good, which is effected by an elevation from his proprium. Hence it is evident that by hiding and covering the faces, when said of the Lord, is signified to leave in evils and falsities; as in the following passages. In Jeremiah:

"For all their perverseness I have hid my faces from this city" (xxxiii. 5).

In Isaiah:

"Your sins have hid God's faces from you, that he will not hear" (lix. 2).

In Ezekiel:

"My faces will I turn from them, that they may profane my secret [place]; and the violent may enter into it, and defile it" (vii. 22).

In the same:

"The nations shall know that for their iniquity the sons of Israel went into captivity; and therefore will I hide my faces from them" (xxxix. 23).

In Lamentations:

"The face of Jehovah hath divided them; he will no more regard them" (iv. 16).

In Micah:

"Jehovah will hide his faces from them, even as they have made their works evil" (iii. 4).

In David:

"Thou hast hid thy faces, I was troubled" (Ps. xxx. 7).

In the same:

"Wherefore hidest thou thy faces, [and] forgettest our wretchedness and our oppression?" (Ps. xliv. 25).

In the same:

"Thou hidest thy faces, they are troubled; thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust (Ps. civ. 29).

In Moses:

"My anger shall be kindled against the people in that day, and I will forsake them, and will hide my faces from them. In hiding I will hide my faces in that day, for all the evil which they have wrought" (Deut. xxxi. 17, 18).

In the same:

"I will hide my faces from them; they are a generation of perversions" (Deut. xxxii. 20).

In Isaiah:

"I will wait upon Jehovah, though he hideth his faces from the house of Jacob" (viii. 17).

In David:

"How long wilt Thou forget me, O Jehovah? how long wilt thou hide thy faces from me?" (Ps. xiii. 1).

In the same:

"Hide not thy faces from me; reject not thy servant in anger" (Ps. xxvii. 9).

In the same:

"Hide not thy faces from thy servant, for I am in trouble; answer me speedily" (Ps. lxix. 17).

In the same:

"O Jehovah, wherefore forsakest thou my soul? wherefore hidest thou thy faces from me?" (Ps. lxxxviii. 14).

In the same:

"Hide not thy faces from me in the day when I am in distress" (Ps. cii. 2).

In the same:

"Answer me, O Jehovah; hide not thy faces from me, lest I become like them that go down into the pit" (Ps. cxliii. 7).

In Ezekiel:

"When I shall gather together the sons of Israel upon their own land, then will I no longer hide my faces from them, for I will pour out my spirit upon the sons of Israel" (xxxix. 27-29).

In David:

"He hath not despised nor turned away from the affliction of Israel; neither hath he hid his faces from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard" (Ps. xxii. 24).

(References: Deuteronomy 31:17-18, 32:20; Ezekiel 7:22, Ezekiel 39:23, 39:28-29; Isaiah 8:17, Isaiah 59:2; Jeremiah 33:5; Lamentations 4:16; Micah 3:4; Psalms 13:1, 22:24, 27:8-9, 27:9, Psalms 30:7, Psalms 44:24, Psalms 69:17, Psalms 88:14, Psalms 102:1-2, 102:2, Psalms 104:29, 143:7)


[19] In these passages it is said that Jehovah, that is, the Lord, covers and hides His faces on account of iniquities and sins; He is also entreated not to hide or cover [them], when nevertheless He never hides or covers [what they signify], namely, His Divine good and His Divine truth, for the Lord is Divine love itself, and mercy itself, and desires the salvation of all; wherefore He is present with all and each, even with those who are in iniquities and sins, and by this presence He gifts them with the liberty of receiving Him, that is, the truth and good from Him, therefore they receive if in freedom thy desire it. The reason why [reception must be] in freedom is, in order that goods and truths may remain with man, and be with him as his own; for what a man does in freedom he does from affection, for all freedom is of the affection, the affection also is his will, therefore what is received in freedom, or from man's affection, enters his will, and remains. The reason why it then remains is, because the will is the man himself, for therein his life primarily resides, but secondarily in the thought or the understanding. This, therefore, is the reason that man ought to receive the Divine good and the Divine truth, with which the Lord is always present.

[20] This also is meant by:

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in unto him, and will sup with him" (Apoc. iii. 20).

But when man in freedom chooses evil, then he shuts the door against himself, and thus does not admit the good and truth which are from the Lord; therefore the Lord then appears as absent, and it is from this appearance that it is said that Jehovah covers and hides His faces, although He does not cover and hide [them]. Moreover, man, then, as to his spirit, turns himself away from the Lord, and, consequently, does not perceive the good or see the truth which are from the Lord; hence also it appears as if the Lord did not see him, when nevertheless He sees all and everything pertaining to him. From this appearance also it is that He is said to cover and hide His faces, indeed, that He is said to set (ponere et dare) His faces against them, also that He beholds them in the back of the neck (cervice), and not in the faces, as in the following passages.

In Jeremiah:

"I have set my faces against this city for evil, and not for good" (xxi. 10).

In the same:

"I set my faces against you for evil, to cut off all Judah" (xliv. 11).

In Ezekiel:

"I will set my faces against that man, and I will lay him waste, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people" (xiv. 8).

In the same:

"I will set my faces against them; they shall go out from a fire, and a fire shall devour them; when I shall have set my faces against them" (xv. 7).

In Moses:

"He that shall eat any blood, I will set my faces against that soul, and I will cut him off" (Levit. xvii. 10).

In Jeremiah:

"As an east wind will I scatter them before the enemy; I will look at them in the back of the neck, and not in the face" (xviii. 17).

That it is man who sets (ponit et dat) his face against the Lord, and who turns himself away from the Lord, whence evil overtakes him, is plain also from the Word. As in Jeremiah:

"They have turned unto me the back of the neck, and not the faces" (xxxii. 33).

In the same:

"They have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return" (v. 3).

In the same:

"They have gone away in their own counsels, in the hardening of their evil heart, they are become turned backwards and not turned forwards" (vii. 24).

And in Isaiah:

"Your sins have hid God's faces from you" (lix. 2).

(References: Ezekiel 14:7-8, 14:8, 15:7; Isaiah 59:2; Jeremiah 5:3, 7:24, 18:17, 21:10, 32:33, Jeremiah 44:11; Leviticus 17:10; Revelation 3:20)


[21] That the wicked turn away the face from the Lord, is not done as to the bodily face, but the face of their spirit. Man can turn his face whichever way he pleases, because he is in a state of freedom to turn himself either towards heaven or towards hell, and also a man's face has been taught to counterfeit before the world; but when man becomes a spirit, which he does immediately after death, then he who had lived in evils, turns away the face entirely from the Lord (as is evident from what has been said and shown in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 17, 123, 142, 144, 145, 151, 153, 251, 272, 511, 552, 561). This, therefore, is meant by, "they have turned unto me the back of the neck, and not the face," and by, "they are become turned backwards, and not turned forwards." Now because such persons [expose themselves] to the evil of punishment, and to hell, it is, therefore, supposed by those who turn themselves away, that this [proceeds] from the Lord, and that He regards them with a stern countenance, and casts them down into hell, and punishes them, just as a man who is in anger; whereas the Lord never regards any one but from love and mercy. It is from that appearance that the following expressions are used in the Word. In Isaiah:

"When thou shalt do terrible [things, which] we look not for, the mountains shall flow down at thy presence" (lxiv. 3).*

In David:

"It is burned with fire, it is cut down; they have perished at the rebuke of thy faces" (Ps. lxxx. 16).

In the same:

"The faces of Jehovah are against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth" (Ps. xxxiv. 16).

In Moses:

"Behold I send an angel before thee. Take heed of his faces; for he will not bear your prevarication" (Exod. xxiii. 20, 21).

In Ezekiel:

"I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and I will judge with you face to face" (xx. 35).

In Moses:

"When the ark set forward, Moses said, Arise, O Jehovah, let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thy faces" (Num. x. 35).

In the Apocalypse:

"I saw a throne high and great, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away" (xx. 11).

(References: Exodus 23:20-21; Ezekiel 20:35; Heaven and Hell 17, Heaven and Hell 123, Heaven and Hell 142, Heaven and Hell 144-145, 151, 153, Heaven and Hell 251, Heaven and Hell 511, 552, Heaven and Hell 561; Isaiah 64:3; Numbers 10:35; Psalms 34:16, Psalms 80:17, 80:16; Revelation 20:11)


[22] These things are now said respecting the signification of the face, when said of Jehovah or the Lord; but the face, where it is said of man, signifies his mind and affection, consequently, the interiors of his mind, and this because the mind and its affections, or the interiors of the man's mind, become visible in the face, whence it is that the face is called the index of the mind. The face also is an effigy of the interiors of man, for it represents them, and the countenance corresponds to them. That by the faces, when said of man, are signified affections of various kinds, is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:

"They say, Retire from the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from our faces" (xxx. 11).

Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from our faces, signifies, [to remove] the Lord from the thought and affection, thus everything of the church, the Holy One of Israel denoting the Lord; to recede from the truth and good of the church, which is from the Lord, and in which the Lord is, is signified by "Retire from the way, turn aside from the path," the way and the path denoting the truth and good of the church.

(References: Isaiah 30:11)


[23] In Lamentations:

"They have not accepted the faces of the priests, and they have not had pity upon the old" (iv. 16).

And elsewhere:

"Princes were hanged up by their hand; the faces of the old were not honoured" (Lam. v. 12).

Not to accept the faces of the priests, signifies to esteem as nothing the goods of the church, which are [those] of love and faith; for the priests represented the Lord as to Divine good, and thence signified the good of the church, and faces all things thereof, which have reference to love and faith. Not to honour the faces of the old, signifies to account as nothing all things of wisdom, the old signifying wisdom, and their faces all things thereof, because interior. The princes hanged up by their hand, signify that all intelligence was rejected, princes denoting the primary truths, from which there is intelligence.

(References: Lamentations 4:16, Lamentations 5:12)


[24] In Moses:

"Jacob said concerning Esau, I will appease his faces with a present, that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his faces; peradventure he will accept my faces" (Gen. xxxii. 20).

To appease his faces, signifies to engage his mind; afterward to see his faces, signifies to know the quality of his mind; peradventure he will accept my faces, signifies, peradventure he shall receive me with a favourable mind, to accept the faces denoting to will good to any one from affection. In the same:

"Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not regard faces, neither take a gift" (Deut. xvi. 19).

Not to regard faces, signifies [not] to be of a mind disposed towards superiors, the rich, and friends, more than towards inferiors, the poor, and enemies, because justice and rectitude are to be regarded without any respect to person.

(References: Deuteronomy 16:19; Genesis 32:20, 32:19-20)


[25] In Malachi:

"I have made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye keep not my ways, and receive faces in the law" (ii. 9).

To receive faces in the law, here signifies the same thing as above, to regard faces in judgment; namely, to be disposed to favour superiors, the rich, and friends, rather than inferiors, the poor, and enemies.

In Isaiah:

"What mean ye, that ye beat the people, and grind the faces of the poor?" (iii. 15).

To grind the faces of the poor, signifies to destroy the affections of knowing truth with those who are in ignorance of truths, and yet desire to be instructed, to grind signifying to destroy; faces signifying the affections of knowing truths, and the poor, those who are in ignorance of truth and desire to be instructed, for these are those who are spiritually poor.

(References: Isaiah 3:15; Malachi 2:9)


[26] In David:

"The daughter of Tyre shall bring a gift; the rich among the people shall intreat thy faces. The king's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of interwoven [materials] of gold" (Ps. xlv. 12, 13).

By the king's daughter is signified the spiritual affection of truth, the daughter of Tyre signifying the affection of the knowledges (cognitions) of truth and good; to be enriched with these is signified by bringing a gift; by the rich among the people are signified the intelligent, and in the abstract, the intelligence of truth and good; to be gifted with these is signified by intreating his faces; for all things of intelligence dwell in the spiritual affection of truth, which therefore is signified by the faces. The remainder [of this passage] may be seen explained above (n. 195).

(References: Psalms 45:12-13; The Apocalypse Explained 195)


[27] In the same:

"Yet do I trust in him, the salvations of my faces, and my God" (Ps. xlii. 11; xliii. 5).

The salvations of my faces, signify all things that are within, thus those of the mind and affections, consequently, those of love and faith, which, because they save, are called salvations. Evil affections, which are lusts, are also expressed by faces, because they appear in the faces, for the face is the external or natural form of the interiors of the internal and external mind (animi et mentis); and in the spiritual world they make one; for there it is not permitted to counterfeit other faces than those of the affections, thus which correspond to the interiors of the mind; hence it is, that the angels of heaven are lustrous and comely in face, whereas infernal spirits are dark and deformed in face.

(References: Psalms 42:11)


[28] That these things are also meant by faces, is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:

"Pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them, as a travailing woman they bring forth; they shall be amazed [every] man towards his companion; their faces [are] faces of flames" (xiii. 8).

The Last Judgment is here treated of, when the evil are let into their interiors. The interiors of those who are in the love of self and the world, and thence in hatred and revenges, are meant by their faces are as faces of flames; such also do they appear; their torment from the influx of Divine good and Divine truth is signified by, "Pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them, as a travailing woman they bring forth. Their torments are like the pangs and sorrows of travailing women for the same reason as [is given] in Genesis (iii. 16); for evils and falsities are then conjoined, and until this take place, sorrows take hold when the Divine good and truth flow in.

(References: Genesis 3:16; Isaiah 13:8)


[29] In Ezekiel:

"Say to the forest of the south, The flame of a grievous flame shall not be quenched, whence all faces shall be burned therein from the south even to the north" (xx. 47).

By the forest of the south is meant falsity within the church, consequently, those therein who are in falsities. The church is signified by the south because it may be in the light of truth from the Word, and falsity from evil is signified by the forest; the vastation and destruction of the church by the love of falsity from evil, are signified by, "The flame of a grievous flame, whence all faces shall be burned"; all faces denote all the interiors of the men of the church as to the affections of truth and good, and the thoughts thence; from the south even to the north, signifies all things of the church from primaries to ultimates, or the interiors and exteriors; the south denotes the interior or first things of the church, and the north denotes the exterior or ultimate things of the church. The reason why such things are signified by the south and the north is, that those who are in the light of truth from the Lord are in the southern quarter of the spiritual world, and, in the hells under them there, are those who are in natural light, by which they have confirmed themselves in falsities; and in the northern quarter are those who are in an obscure [state] of truth from the Lord, and in the hells under them there, those who are in falsities, but not in any natural light by which they have confirmed their falsities.

(References: Ezekiel 20:47)


[30] In Joel:

"Before him the peoples tremble; all faces have gathered blackness" (ii. 6).

The evils and falsities devastating the church are here treated of; also the judgment upon those who are in them; those who are in falsities, are signified by the peoples who tremble; their interiors, which are in the falsities of evil, are signified by the faces that have gathered blackness, faces denoting the interiors, and blackness denoting the falsity of evil; the infernals also who are in the falsity of evil appear black in the light of heaven.

(References: Joel 2:6)


[31] In Daniel:

"In the end of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king hard in faces shall rise up" (viii. 23).

These things are said of the four horns of the he-goat, by which are here meant four kingdoms, but by kingdoms here are not meant kingdoms, but states of the church, for, by a he-goat of the she-goats is meant faith separated from charity, which is called faith alone. The end of their kingdom signifies the end of the church, when there is no faith because no charity. "When the transgressors are come to the full," signifies when there are no longer truth and good, but evil and falsity; the same is signified by these words as by, when iniquity is consummated and filled (concerning which see above, n. 397). "A king hard in faces," signifies [that there was] no truth in their interiors, but falsity; for a king signifies truth, and, in the opposite sense, falsity, faces signifying the interiors, and hard in faces, such things without good; for where there is no good, there truth is hard, whereas truth from good is mild, because living; and that truth [without good] is even falsity in their interiors or in their thought, because they do not think concerning it spiritually but materially, because from corporeal and worldly things, and thence from fallacies of the senses.

(References: Daniel 8:23; The Apocalypse Explained 397)


[32] In Ezekiel:

"Sons hard in their faces, and hardened in heart" (ii. 4).

By sons hard in their faces are signified those who are in truths without good, and abstractedly truths without good, which in themselves are falsities, as said above; and by, hardened in heart, are signified those who do not admit good, consequently, who are in evil, for evil enters where good cannot. The heart, in the Word, also signifies the good of love, and a hardened heart signifies the same as a stony heart, namely, where the good of love is not admitted; but a heart of flesh signifies, where it is admitted.

(References: Ezekiel 2:4)


[33] In Isaiah:

"Their tongue and their doings are against Jehovah, to rebel against the eyes of his glory. The hardness of their faces doth witness against them" (iii. 8, 9).

By their tongue and their doings which are against Jehovah, are signified the thought and affection; by the tongue, the thought, because the tongue utters what the man thinks; and by the doings, affection, because a man does what is of his affection. These are against Jehovah, and rebel against the eyes of His glory, when they are against the Divine good, and against the Divine truth, for by Jehovah in the Word is meant the Lord as to the Divine good proceeding from His Divine love, and by His glory is meant the Divine truth; to be against this is signified by rebelling against the eyes of His glory. The hardness of their faces, which witnesses against them, signifies the refusal and non-admission of the Divine truth and the Divine good into their thoughts and affections, which are their interiors.

(References: Isaiah 3:8-9)


[34] In Ezekiel

"Behold, I have made thy faces hard against their faces, and thy forehead hard against their foreheads" (iii. 8).

These words are spoken to the prophet, by whom is signified the doctrine of truth and good fighting against falsities and evils; therefore by his faces being hard against their faces is signified the rejection of falsities by truths, and by his forehead being hard against their foreheads is signified the rejection of evil by good; for faces signify the affections of truth and the

affections of falsity, and the forehead signifies the affection of good and the affection of evil. The affection of truth and good hardens and becomes hard outwardly from zeal, when it combats against falsity and evil, otherwise it could not repulse them; not however inwardly. Hence it is evident how those words are to be understood. Because by the faces are signified the interiors of man, or the things of his thought and affection, hence also, in the Hebrew tongue, interiorly is expressed by the same word as face.

(References: Ezekiel 3:8)


[35] As various observations are made in [these] explanations concerning faces, which perhaps, without further exposition, can scarcely be understood, therefore I desire to add what has been said and shown concerning faces in the Arcana Coelestia, namely, that the face is formed to a correspondence with a man's interiors, n. 4791-4805, 5695; concerning the correspondence of the face and countenance with the affections of the mind, n. 1568, 2988, 2989, 3631, 4796, 4797, 4800, 5165, 5168, 9306. That hence the interiors shine forth from the face, n. 3527, 4066, 4796. That with the ancients the face made one with the interiors, n. 3573, 4326, 5695. That they also make one with the angels in heaven, and with sincere men in the world, n. 4796, 4797, 4799, 5695, 8250. That the faces of all in the other life become of such a quality as their interiors, n. 4798, 5695. Experiences of the changes of the face according to the interiors, n. 4796, 6604. Concerning the influx of the interiors of the mind, or of the understanding and will into the face and its muscles, n. 3631, 4800. That the face does not act as one with the interiors of flatterers, counterfeiters, hypocrites, and deceitful men, n. 4799, 8250; that with such the face is taught to counterfeit what is sincere, honest, and pious, n. 4326. How the influx from the brains into the face became changed in process of time, and therewith the face itself as to correspondence with the interiors, n. 4326, 8250. That the natural part of man is as an interior face to the spiritual mind and its sight, n. 5165, 5168. See also what has been said and shown concerning faces, in the work on Heaven and Hell, n. 46-48, 142-144, 457-459, 553.

* This passage has been quoted because it appears to include the word "face," but although it includes the Latin word for "face" it does not include the thing. The Latin of this passage is: "Quando facies formidabilis, non spectemur"; but here facies is not the noun meaning "face," but the verb meaning "thou shalt do"; and formidabilis is evidently a misreading for formidabilia.-TR.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1568, 2988-2989, 3527, 3573, 3631, 4066, 4326, 4791-4805, 4796, 4796-4797, 4798, 4799, 4800, 5165, 5168, 5695, 6604, 8250, 9306; Ezekiel 14:7-8; Genesis 32:20; Heaven and Hell 46-48, Heaven and Hell 142-144, Heaven and Hell 457-459, Heaven and Hell 553; Jeremiah 3:9; Psalms 27:8-9, Psalms 80:16-17, Psalms 102:1-2; Revelation 6:16)

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