710. Verse 2. And being with child, signifies nascent doctrine from the good of celestial love. This is evident from the signification of "being with child" [or having in the womb] as being, in reference to the church, which the woman signifies, the nascent doctrine of truth from the good of celestial love. For the "womb" signifies inmost conjugial love, and thence celestial love in the whole complex; and the embryo in the womb signifies the truth of doctrine from the good of celestial love, for it has a similar signification as "the son a male" which the woman brought forth, described in the fifth verse, which signifies the doctrine of truth from the good of love, but with the difference that the embryo, being yet in the womb, partakes more from the good of innocence than after it is born, therefore the embryo and the son a male both signify the doctrine of truth, the latter doctrine itself, but the former nascent doctrine. From this it is clear that "being with child" signifies the nascent doctrine of truth from the good of celestial love.
 The "womb" signifies the inmost good of love, because all the members devoted to generation, both with males and with females, signify conjugial love, and "the womb" its inmost, because there the fetus is conceived and grows, until it is born; moreover, it is the inmost of the genital organs, and from it is also derived the maternal love that is called "storge." Because the man who is regenerating is also conceived, and as it were carried in the womb and born, and because regeneration is effected by truths from the good of love, so "to bear in the womb" signifies in the spiritual sense the doctrine of truth from the good of love. There is also a correspondence of the womb with the inmost good of love, since the whole heaven corresponds to all things with man (of which correspondence see in the work on Heaven and Hell 87-102); and thus also the members devoted to generation; these correspond there to celestial love. There is also an influx of that love out of heaven with mothers during the time of gestation, and into the embryos; and from it springs the love of the babe with mothers, and innocence with babes. This shows why the "womb" signifies the inmost good of love, and "to bear in the womb" signifies the nascent doctrine of truth from the good of love.
 That this is the signification of the "womb," and of "bearing in the womb," can be seen from the following passages in the Word. In Isaiah:
Hearken unto Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel carried from the womb, borne from the matrix; even unto old age I am the same, and even to hoariness I will carry; I have made, I will carry, and I will bear and will deliver (Isaiah 46:3, 4).
This is said of the reformation of the church, and of the regeneration of the men of the church by the Lord. The church is signified by "the house of Jacob" and "the house of Israel," the external church by "the house of Jacob," and the internal by "the house of Israel." "Those carried from the womb" signify those who are being regenerated by the Lord, and "those borne from the matrix" signify those who are regenerated. Because the man who is being regenerated is first conceived by the Lord, and next is born, and lastly is educated and perfected, and because regeneration is in this respect like the natural generation of man, so "to be carried from the womb" signifies the state of the man who is to be regenerated from conception to birth; the birth itself and afterwards education and perfection, is signified by "to be borne from the matrix; even unto old age I am the same, and even to hoariness I will carry;" "I have made, I will carry, and I will bear and will deliver," have like significations; the former meaning regeneration by the goods of love and charity, and the latter regeneration by the truths from those goods; "to deliver" means to take away and remove evils and falsities that are from hell.
 In Hosea:
Ephraim, as a bird shall his glory fly away, from the birth and from the belly and from conception; yea, if they have brought up their sons, yet I will make them bereaved of man. Give to them, O Jehovah, a miscarrying matrix and dry breasts. Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall yield no fruit, even when they have borne I will kill the desires of their belly (Hosea 9:11, 12, 14, 16).
"Ephraim" means the church in respect to the understanding of truth and good; that there will be no longer any understanding of Divine truth in the church is signified by "Ephraim, as a bird shall his glory fly away," "glory" signifying Divine truth, and "to fly away" signifying to be scattered; the expression "to fly away" is used because it is said of a bird, and a bird is mentioned because it signifies things belonging to the understanding and to thought therefrom; "from the birth and from the belly and from conception" signifies the dispersion of all truth from things last to things first, "birth" signifying things last, because it signifies what has been born; "from the belly and from conception" signifies what is before birth, thus all things from things last to things first, for when last things perish things prior also successively fall away; "if they have brought up their sons, yet I will make them bereaved of man," signifies that although they have acquired for themselves truths, yet they will be without intelligence, "sons" signifying the truths of the church, and "man" intelligence, therefore "to make them bereaved of man" signifies that still they have no intelligence.
 "Give them, O Jehovah, a miscarrying matrix and dry breasts," signifies that they have no longer truths from any good, but falsities from evil; "a miscarrying matrix" signifying falsities from evil in the place of truth from good, "dry breasts" have a like meaning, but "matrix" signifies truths from the good of love, and "breasts" truths from the good of charity, here falsities from evil contrary to those truths; "Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up," signifies there is no longer any understanding of truth even from things first, Ephraim here as above meaning the understanding of the truth of the church, and "root" its first; "they shall yield no fruit" signifies no good, for where there are no truths there is no good; "even when they have borne, I will kill the desires of their belly," signifies that although they have acquired for themselves truths, they will nevertheless perish, "desires of the belly" signifying truths acquired; it is said the "belly" instead of the womb, because the belly seems to swell in childbearing, and yet the term "belly" is used where truths are treated of, and "womb" where good is treated of.
 In David:
For thou art He that took me out of the womb, giving me trust from my mother's breasts; I was cast upon Thee; Thou art my God from my mother's belly (Psalms 22:9, 10).
This, too, describes the regeneration of the spiritual man by such things as belong to natural generation from the mother; therefore "Thou art He that took me out of the womb" signifies that one is regenerated by the Lord and made a man of the church; "Thou dost give me trust from my mother's breasts" signifies that one is afterwards led and spiritually educated, "the mother's breasts" signifying spiritual nourishment in such things as belong to the church, "mother" meaning the church; "I was cast upon thee from the womb" signifies that the Lord has done all things from the good of love, and "Thou art my God from my mother's belly" signifies that He has done all things by means of truths, for, as has been said above, where the good of love is treated of the term "womb" is used, and where truths from that good are treated of the term "belly" is used; therefore it is said, "Thou art my God," for where the good of love is treated of the Lord is called "Jehovah," and where truths are treated of He is called "God."
 In the Gospels:
Woe to them that bear in the womb, and to them that give suck in those days (Matthew 24:19; Mark 13:17; Luke 21:23).
These chapters treat of the consummation of the age, which means the end of the church when there is the Last Judgment; therefore "those that bear in the womb" and "those that give suck in those days," over whom there is lamentation, mean those who then receive the goods of love and the truths of such good; "those that bear in the womb" mean those who receive the good of love, and "those that give suck" mean those who receive the truths of that good, for the "milk" which is given signifies truth from the good of love. It is said, "Woe to them," because those who receive goods and truths are unable to keep them, for in such a state hell prevails and snatches away the goods and truths, and thence comes profanation. Hell then prevails because at the end of the church the falsities of evil rule, and take away the truths of good; for man is held in the midst between heaven and hell, and before the Last Judgment that which arises out of hell prevails over that which comes down out of heaven. (See respecting this in the work on Heaven and Hell 538, 540, 541, 546, 589-596; and in the small work on The Last Judgment 73, 74.)
 In Luke:
Behold, the days shall come in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren and the bellies that have not borne, and the breasts that have not given suck (Luke 23:29).
This has a like signification, for it is said of the last time of the church; and "the barren," and "the bellies that have not borne," signify those who have not received genuine truths, that is, truths from the good of love, and "the breasts that have not given suck" signify those who have not received genuine truths from the good of charity. For all truths are from good; and goods are of two kinds, celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord, and spiritual good, which is the good of charity towards the neighbor; "breasts" have a similar signification as "milk," namely, truth from good.
 In the same:
A woman lifting up her voice out of the throng said of Jesus, Blessed is the belly that bare Thee, and the breasts that Thou hath sucked; but Jesus said, Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it (Luke 11:27, 28).
Because "to bear in the belly" and "to give suck with the breasts" signify the regeneration of man, as has been said above, the Lord answered, "Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it," which describes the regeneration that is effected by truths from the Word and a life according to them; "to hear the Word of God" signifies to learn truths from the Word, and "to keep it" signifies to live according to those truths.
 In John:
Nicodemus said, How can a man be born when he is old? he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except one be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of the heavens. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the spirit is spirit (John 3:4-6).
Nicodemus evidently understood natural generation instead of the spiritual generation, of which the Lord spoke, therefore the Lord teaches him concerning regeneration, which is effected by truths from the Word, and by a life according to them, and this is signified by "being born of water and of the spirit," for "water" means in the spiritual sense the truth from the Word, and "the life is spirit" 1 according to it. That man is born natural and becomes spiritual by a life according to truths from the Word, is signified by "that which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the spirit is spirit;" that the natural man cannot be saved unless he becomes spiritual is meant by "except one be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of the heavens."
 Because it is the Lord alone who reforms and regenerates man, He is called in the Word "the Former from the womb," as in Isaiah:
Jehovah, thy Maker and thy Former from the womb, helpeth thee (Isaiah 44:2, 24).
In the same:
Jehovah hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother doth He make mention of my name. Thus said Jehovah, my Former from the womb, to be His servant, to bring back Jacob to Him, and that Israel be gathered to Him (Isaiah 49:1, 5).
In many passages in the Word the Lord is called "Creator," "Maker," and "Former from the womb," and also "Redeemer;" for the reason that He creates man anew, reforms, regenerates, and has redeemed him. It may be believed that the Lord is so called because He created man and forms him in the womb, but yet it is the spiritual creation and formation that is here meant; for the Word is both natural and spiritual; it is natural for men, who are natural, and spiritual for angels, who are spiritual, as can also be seen from this, that what is here said is said of Israel, and in the highest sense of the Lord. "Israel" means the church, thus every man of the church; and because the Lord knows what the nature of every man is in respect to the good of love and the truth of faith it is said, "Jehovah hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother doth He make mention of my name;" 2 "to call and to know the name" of anyone signifies to know of what nature he is; "from the womb" means to know this in respect to the good of love; and "from the bowels of my mother" in respect to the truths from that good; "Jacob" who shall be brought again to Him, and "Israel" who shall be gathered to Him, signify the church, "Jacob" the external church, and "Israel" the internal church; the internal church is in the spiritual man, the external in the natural.
 In Jeremiah:
Before I formed thee in the womb I knew thee, and before thou camest forth from the womb I sanctified thee; I will give thee as a prophet unto the nations (Jeremiah 1:5).
This is said of the prophet Jeremiah, but yet "prophet" means in the spiritual sense one who teaches truth, and in the abstract sense the doctrine of truth; therefore "to form in the womb," and "to know before he came forth from the womb," signify a foreseeing that one can be in truths from good by regeneration, thus that one can receive and teach the Word. "To sanctify" and "to give as a prophet to the nations" have the same meaning; "nations" are those who are in good, and who from good receive truths.
 In David:
Upon Thee have I been laid from the womb. Thou art He that took me out of my mother's bowels (Psalms 71:6).
This has a like meaning. In the same:
Lo, sons are the heritage of Jehovah, the fruit of the belly is his reward (Psalms 127:3).
Here, as elsewhere in the Word, "sons" mean those who are in truths from good, and "fruit of the belly" means those who are in good by truths, who have heaven, which is a "heritage" and also a "reward."
 In Isaiah:
Can a woman forget her infant, that she may not have compassion on the son of her belly? Yea, though these may forget, yet will not I forget thee (Isaiah 49:15).
This is said because in the spiritual sense regeneration is meant, and this is why there is a comparison made with a woman and her love for her infant; the like is true of one who is regenerated by the Lord.
 In David:
Jehovah hath sworn truth unto David, Of the fruit of thy belly will I set upon thy throne (Psalms 132:11).
By "David," here as elsewhere, the Lord in relation to the spiritual kingdom, which is his royalty, is meant, therefore "to set of the fruit of his belly upon his throne" means one who is being regenerated by the Lord; such a man is called "the fruit of his belly" because he is in truths and in a life according to them; the "throne" which he shall have means heaven. This is what is signified by these words in the spiritual sense, but in the highest sense the Lord and His glorification are meant.
 In the same:
Thou dost possess my reins, Thou hast covered me in my mother's belly (Psalms 139:13).
"To possess the reins" signifies to purify truths from falsities (See above, n. 167); and "to cover in the mother's belly" signifies to defend from the falsities of evil which are from hell, and this from the beginning of regeneration and afterwards continually.
 In the same:
The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray from the belly, speaking falsehood (Psalms 58:3).
This does not mean that the wicked are estranged from the womb, and go astray from the belly, that is, from birth; for no one is estranged from God and goes astray from birth; but "to be estranged from the womb" signifies to turn away from good to evil from the first day when one could be reformed, and "to go astray from the belly" signifies to turn away in like manner from truths to falsities; and "to speak falsehood" signifies to believe falsities. Such are said to turn away from the first day when they could be reformed, because the Lord strives to reform all, whoever they may be, beginning from childhood and continuing through adolescence to youth, but those who do not suffer themselves to be reformed are said to turn away at once.
 In Hosea:
The iniquity of Ephraim is tied together, his sin is hidden away, the throes of a woman in travail shall come upon him; he is a son not wise, for he doth not stay his time in the womb of sons (Hosea 13:12, 13).
"Ephraim" signifies the understanding of truth, here the understanding perverted, which is the understanding of falsity instead of truth; its falsity is signified by "iniquity," and the evil of falsity by "his sin;" therefore he is called "a son not wise;" his not accepting reformation is signified by "the throes of a woman in travail shall come upon him," and by "he doth not stay his time in the womb of sons," this signifying that he does not remain in a state of reformation.
 In Isaiah:
I knew that in dealing treacherously thou wouldst deal treacherously, and the name of a transgressor was given thee from the womb (Isaiah 48:8).
This is said of "the house of Jacob," which means the perverted church; "to deal treacherously" signifies to act contrary to revealed truths; and "to have the name of a transgressor given from the womb" signifies a turning away from truths from the first time when one might be reformed; "to be called by name" signifies of what quality one is in respect to truths.
 In Hosea:
Jacob supplanted his brother in the womb, and in his vigor he struggled powerfully with God (Hosea 12:3).
What this signifies in the internal sense no one can know unless it is known that Jacob and his posterity even from their fathers down were merely natural, and therefore were opposed to the good of heaven and the church; for whoever is natural and not at the same time spiritual is opposed to that good, since that good is acquired solely through the conjunction of truth and good, first in the spiritual man and afterwards in the natural; but "Esau" signifies natural good in the spiritual. Now because Jacob and his posterity were such, and because they rejected every such good, and this from the very first time, it is said of Jacob that "he supplanted his brother in the womb." Moreover, the combat of Jacob with the angel, which is described in Genesis 32:24-31, depicts the tenacity with which they insisted upon possessing the land of Canaan, which means that a church should be instituted with them; this tenacity is depicted by that combat, and also by what is said in the next verse, in Hosea:
And he struggled vigorously with the angel, he wept and entreated him (Hosea 12:4).
But that they would nevertheless be destitute of any good of celestial and spiritual love is meant by:
The angel touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh, and the hollow of his thigh was put out of joint in wrestling with the angel (Genesis 32:24, 31).
For the thigh signifies the conjunction of good and truth, and "its being put out of joint" signifies that with Jacob and his posterity there was no conjunction of truth with good; this is meant by "Jacob struggled vigorously with God." (But on this see Arcana Coelestia 4281, where it is explained. That the Israelitish and Jewish nation was not chosen, but was accepted to represent a church, because of the tenacity with which their fathers and Moses persisted, see n. 4290, 4293, 7051, 7439, 10430, 10535, 10632)
 In Moses:
The sons strove with each other in the belly of Rebecca; and Jehovah said, Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels, and the one people shall prevail over the other people, and the greater shall serve the less. And the days for bringing forth were fulfilled, and behold twins were in her womb; and the first came forth red all over like a hairy garment, and they called his name Esau. And afterwards his brother came forth, and his hand had seized Esau's heel, and he called his name Jacob (Genesis 25:20-26).
These historical statements involve what has just been said about Jacob and his posterity, namely, that they were merely natural, and thus were in no natural good from spiritual, which is signified by "Esau." That Jacob's posterity was without that good is signified by Jacob's seizing Esau's heel when he came forth out of his mother's womb, the "heel" signifying the lowest natural. (But this, too, is explained in Arcana Coelestia.)
 In the same:
From the God of thy father and He shall help thee, and with Shaddai and He shall bless thee, with the blessings of heaven from above, with the blessings of the abyss lying beneath, with the blessings of the breasts and of the womb (Genesis 49:25).
This is the blessing of Joseph by his father Israel, which is explained in the Arcana Coelestia 6428-6434), where it is shown that "the blessings of the breasts" signify the affections of good and truth, and "the blessings of the womb" the conjunction of good and truth, thus regeneration.
 In the same:
That Jehovah may love thee and bless thee and multiply thee, that He may bless the fruit of thy belly and the fruit of thy land, thy corn and thy new wine, thine oil, the young of thy kine and the rams of thy flock (Deuteronomy 7:13).
Blessed shall be the fruit of thy belly and the fruit of thy land, the young of thy kine and of the herd of thy flock (Deuteronomy 28:4)
This was said to the sons of Jacob, who understood it only in a natural way, that is, according to the sense of the letter, because they were merely natural, and not in the least spiritual; but these "blessings" signify spiritual blessings, which are of heaven, and thence of eternal life, "the fruit of the belly" signifying the good of love and the truth of that good; "the fruit of the land" everything of the church; "the corn and new wine" all good and truth in the natural man; "the young of kine and of the herd of the flock" the affections of good and truth exterior and interior. In general all this signifies the fructification and multiplication of truth and good.
 In Isaiah:
Behold, I stir up against them the Mede, who will not esteem silver, and in gold they will not delight; whose bows will dash in pieces the young men, and they will have no compassion on the fruit of the belly; their eye shall not spare the sons (Isaiah 13:17, 18).
The "Mede" means those who make no account of the truth and good of the church, and who destroy the things of the understanding and love that are therefrom; the "silver" that they will not esteem, and the "gold" they will not delight in signify the truth and good of heaven and of the church, "silver" the truth and "gold" the good of these; "their bows will dash in pieces the young men, and they will have no compassion on the fruit of the belly," signifies that the falsities of doctrine will destroy all the understanding of truth and all the good of love; "the bow" meaning the falsity of doctrine, "the young men" the understanding of truth, and "the fruit of the belly" the good of love; "their eye shall not spare the sons" signifies that their perverted understanding and insanity will lay waste every truth of the church, "sons" meaning truths, and the "eye" the perverted understanding, which is insanity. It is to be known that the "Mede," does not mean the Mede, but such persons and things in the church as devastate it.
 In Matthew:
The Pharisees said, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Jesus, answering, said, Have ye not read that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall become one flesh? Therefore they are no more twain but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together let not man put asunder. Moses for the hardness of your heart suffered you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away committeth adultery. The disciples said, If the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not expedient to contract matrimony. But Jesus said, All do not receive this word, but they to whom it is given; for there are eunuchs who were so born from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God. He that is able to receive let him receive (Matthew 19:3-12).
That this contains interior arcana can be seen from the Lord's saying that "all do not receive these words, but they to whom it is given." The interior arcanum contained in these words spoken by the Lord is but little apprehended by men, but it is apprehended by all angels in heaven, because they perceive these words of the Lord spiritually, and the arcana contained in them are spiritual. These arcana are, that there are marriages in the heavens even as on earth, but in the heavens the marriages are of like with like; for man is born to act from the understanding, but woman from affection, and the understanding with men is the understanding of truth and good, and the affection with women is the affection of truth and good; and as all understanding derives its life from affection, therefore the two there are joined together, as the affection which belongs to the will is joined with the correspondent thought which belongs to the understanding. For the understanding is different with everyone, as the truths that constitute the understanding are different. In general there are celestial truths, spiritual truths, moral truths, civil truths, and even natural truths; and of every kind of truth there are species and varieties innumerable; and since in consequence of this the understanding of one is never like the understanding of another, nor the affection of one like that of another, yet, in order that the understanding and affection may act as one, they are so joined together in heaven that the correspondent affection, which belongs to the woman, is conjoined with the correspondent understanding which belongs to the man; and as a result, both by correspondence have a life that is full of love. Now because two different affections cannot correspond to one understanding, therefore in heaven one man never has and never can have several wives.
 From this it can be seen and concluded what these words of the Lord also mean spiritually, as what is meant by "a man shall leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh," namely, that man must leave that evil and falsity that he has from his religion, and that defiles his understanding, that is, that he has from father and mother, and his understanding separated from such evil and falsity must be conjoined with the correspondent affection which belongs to the wife, thus the two become one affection of truth and good; this is meant by "one flesh" which the two must become, "flesh" signifying in the spiritual sense good which is of love or affection. "Therefore they are no more twain but one flesh" signifies that thus the understanding of good and truth and the affection of good and truth are not two but one, in like manner as while will and understanding are two they are nevertheless one; and the like is true of truth and good and of faith and charity, which indeed are two but yet one, that is, when truth is of good and good is of truth, so also when faith is of charity and charity is of faith; and this also is the source of conjugial love.
 "Moses for the hardness of their heart suffered them to put away a wife for every cause," because the Israelites and Jews were natural and not spiritual, and those who are purely natural are also hard in heart, since they are not in any conjugial love but in lascivious love, such as is the love of adultery. It is said that "whosoever shall put away a wife except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery," because fornication signifies falsity, and with a woman the affection of evil and falsity, thus an affection that does not at all agree with the understanding of truth and good; and since by such discordance conjugial love, which is of truth and good, and thence is heaven and the church with man, is entirely destroyed, for when the interior conjunction which is of the minds and dispositions is no more, marriage is dissolved. "Whosoever marrieth her that is put away committeth adultery," because one put away on account of fornication means the affection of evil and falsity, as above, and this must not be joined with any understanding of truth and good, for thereby the understanding is perverted, and becomes an understanding of falsity and evil, and the conjunction of falsity and evil is spiritual adultery, as the conjunction of truth and good is spiritual marriage.
 The Lord afterwards spoke of eunuchs because the disciples said, "If the case of the man is so with the wife, it is not expedient to contract matrimony;" also because with the Jewish nation, which was a nation hard in heart because they were in falsities from evil, marriages were not marriages, but understood in the spiritual sense were adulteries, and therefore that nation was called by the Lord "an adulterous generation." This was why the Lord spoke of eunuchs, "eunuchs" meaning those who have no desire to enter into marriage, that is, to be conjoined with the affection of evil, because the understanding of truth and good would thus be perverted and dissipated; thus "eunuchs" mean both the married and the unmarried in whom the understanding of truth and good is conjoined with the affection of truth and good. Such are called "eunuchs" because they have no lasciviousness, such as those have who, from the hardness of heart in which the Jews were, take several wives, and divorce them for every cause.
 It is to be known, in the first place, that the marriage of the understanding of truth and good with the affection of truth and good has in general a threefold origin, and thus is in a threefold degree. In the highest degree is the marriage of those who are called celestial, in a lower degree the marriage between those who are spiritual, and in the lowest degree between those who are natural; for there are three degrees of man's interiors, and thence there are three heavens; those in the highest heaven are called celestial, those in the lower, spiritual, and those in the lowest natural. The marriage of the understanding of truth and good with the affection of truth and good with the celestial is meant by "the eunuchs who are born eunuchs from the mother's womb," because these when they are becoming regenerate, receive truths immediately in the life through love of truths, consequently they know truths from truths themselves; the regeneration of these by the Lord through love to Him is signified by "being made eunuchs in the womb," thus without the lasciviousness of adultery.
 The marriage of the understanding of truth and good with the affection of truth and good of those who are spiritual is meant by "the eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men," for such do not become regenerate in the womb, that is, through love, but through truths first received in the memory, and afterwards intellectually in the thought, and so finally in the life through a certain spiritual affection; these are said "to be made eunuchs by men" because they are reformed through the understanding from the memory, and "man" signifies that understanding, as also above, where "man and wife" are mentioned. But the marriage of truth and good with the affection of truth and good with those who are natural is meant by "eunuchs who make themselves eunuchs," for those who are natural acquire for themselves by means of cognitions and knowledges a natural lumen, and through the good of life according to these knowledges they acquire affection and thence conscience; and as these know no otherwise than that they themselves do this, for the natural man does not enjoy the intelligence of the spiritual man, nor does he enjoy the perception of the celestial man, so these are meant by those who "make themselves eunuchs;" but this is said from the appearance, and from the obscure faith with them. This, therefore, is the meaning of "becoming eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God." And as there are but few who apprehend these things the Lord says, "He that is able to receive let him receive." (But in illustration of this subject see what is said in the work on Heaven and Hell, under the heads, The Two Kingdoms into Which the Heavens are Divided, and The Three Heavens According to the Three Degrees of Man's Interiors, n 20-40, and Marriages in Heaven, n 366-386)
 It is said of John the Baptist:
That he was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother's womb; and that the babe leaped in the womb at the salutation of Mary (Luke 1:15, 41, 44).
This signified that he was to represent the Lord in relation to the Word, as Elijah did; for in the Word, which is Divine truth, there is everywhere the marriage of Divine good and Divine truth, and Divine good united with Divine truth is the Divine proceeding from the Lord, which is called the Holy Spirit. The leaping in the womb at the salutation of Mary represented the joy arising from the love of the conjunction of good and truth, thus the joy of celestial conjugial love, which is in every particular of the Word. (That John the Baptist, like Elijah, represented the Lord in relation to the Word, see in Arcana Coelestia 7643, 9372.)
 What is signified by "the male that first opened the womb" shall also be told. Of this it is said in Moses:
When Jehovah shall have brought thee into the land of Canaan, thou shalt cause to pass over to Jehovah everyone that shall open the womb, and every firstling that cometh of beast, as many males as thou hast shall be Jehovah's. But every firstborn among thy sons thou shalt redeem. And it shall be that if thy son shall ask thee on the morrow, saying, What is this? thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand Jehovah brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of servants, when he slew all the firstborn in the land, from the firstborn of men even to the firstborn of beast; therefore I sacrifice to Jehovah everyone that openeth the womb, the males; but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem (Exodus 13:11-15; 34:19, 20).
That the Levites were accepted in place of these, see in the same:
Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the womb among the sons of Israel, that the Levites may be Mine, for every firstborn is Mine, in the day when I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto Me all the firstborn in Israel, from man even to beast they shall be Mine (Numbers 3:12, 13; 8:16, 17).
The spiritual meaning that lies concealed in this statute does not appear until it is known that natural generations and nativities signify spiritual generations and nativities; also that all the organs of generation correspond to celestial love and its products, which are uses, and are called the truths of that love. Because this is so, and because marriage signifies in the spiritual sense the marriage of truth and good, as has been said above, it can be seen thence what is signified in the same sense by "the one that openeth the womb, or the firstborn male." "The one that openeth the womb or the firstborn male" signifies that which is firstborn from celestial love and from the perception of good and truth; and this evidently is truth from good, which serves as a beginning to what follows; in its essence this is spiritual good, since that good in its form is truth from good, or, what is the same, truth from good in its essence is spiritual good. This is signified by "the one that openeth the womb, the firstborn male," because "the womb" corresponds to inmost conjugial love, which in its essence is celestial love, and from that love spiritual good comes forth, which in its form is truth from good, and in particular, that truth from good which is in place of a beginning to what follows; that which is in the place of a beginning is everything as regards their essential in the things that succeed, because that is what rules in them. As this is what is signified by "the one that openeth the womb (or the firstborn male)" therefore this was made holy to Jehovah, and by it also all the subsequent offspring were sanctified.
 It is to be known that the goods of heaven and the church are of three degrees; the good of the inmost degree, thus also of the inmost heaven, is called the good of celestial love; the good of the lower degree, which is also the good of the middle heaven, is called the good of spiritual love; and the good of the lowest degree, which is the good of the lowest heaven, is called natural good. These goods, as they follow in order, are also born in order. The good of natural love is born from the good of spiritual love, and the good of spiritual love is born from the good of celestial love; and for this reason "the one that openeth the womb, the firstborn male," signifies the good of spiritual love born from the good of celestial love.
 Because "beasts" signify affections, "beasts of the herd" exterior affections, and "beasts of the flock" interior affections, so the firstborn of these were made holy. That this is so is also evident from this, that the Levites were taken in place of all the firstborn; for "Levi" (and thence the Levite) signifies spiritual good from celestial good; consequently the priesthood, which signifies celestial good, was given to Aaron and his sons, and the ministry of that good which signifies truth from good, was given to the Levites. (That this was the signification of the tribe of Levi see above, n. 444.) The statute respecting the firstborn was given to the sons of Israel because all the firstborn in Egypt were slain, for the reason that "the firstborn in Egypt" signify the falsities from evil contrary or opposite to truths from good, thus infernal evil contrary or opposite to spiritual good; and for the reason that when those falsities from evil in man are slain, that is, removed, truths from good, that is, spiritual good, then first flow in from the Lord and is received by man. From this it is evident what was represented and in the spiritual sense signified by that statute. What was signified by:
God's closing up every womb of the house of Abimelech on account of Sarah, Abraham's wife, and after Abraham prayed for them God's healing Abimelech, his wife, and their maidservants, that they might bring forth (Genesis 20:17, 18),
may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, where it is explained.