(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 1038

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1038. This is the sign of the covenant. That this signifies an indication of the presence of the Lord in charity, is evident from the signification of a "covenant" and of a "sign of a covenant." That a "covenant" signifies the presence of the Lord in charity, has been shown before (Gen. 6:18, and above in the present chapter, verse 9). That a "covenant" is the presence of the Lord in love and charity, is evident from the nature of a covenant. Every covenant is for the sake of conjunction, that is, for the sake of living in mutual friendship, or love. Marriage also is for this reason called a covenant. There is no conjunction of the Lord with man except in love and charity; for the Lord is love and mercy itself. He wills to save everyone and to draw him with mighty power to heaven, that is, to Himself. From this everyone may know and conclude that no one can ever be conjoined with the Lord except through that which He Himself is, that is, except by becoming like or making one with Him-in other words, by loving the Lord in return and loving the neighbor as himself. By this alone is the conjunction effected. This is the veriest essence of a covenant. When there is conjunction from this, it then follows manifestly that the Lord is present. There is indeed the very presence of the Lord with every man, but it is nearer or more remote exactly according to the approach to love or the distance from love.
[2] Because the "covenant" is the conjunction of the Lord with man by love, or what is the same, the presence of the Lord with man in love and charity, it is called in the Word the "covenant of peace;" for "peace" signifies the kingdom of the Lord, and the kingdom of the Lord consists in mutual love, in which alone is peace. As in Isaiah:
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My mercy shall not depart from thee, neither shall My covenant of peace be removed, saith Jehovah that hath mercy on thee (Isa. 54:10),
where mercy, which is of love, is called a "covenant of peace." In Ezekiel:
I will raise up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd; and I will make with them a covenant of peace (Ezek. 34:23, 25),
where by "David" is plainly meant the Lord; and His presence with the regenerate man is described by His feeding" them.
My servant David shall be king over them; and there shall be to them all one shepherd, and I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will set them, and will cause them to multiply, and will put My sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Ezek. 37:24, 26-27),
where in like manner the Lord is meant by "David;" love, by "His sanctuary in the midst of them;" the presence and conjunction of the Lord in love, by "His being their God and by their being His people" which is called a "covenant of peace" and an "everlasting covenant." In Malachi:
Ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that My covenant might be with Levi, saith Jehovah of armies; My covenant was with him of lives and peace; and I gave them to him in fear, and he shall fear Me (Mal. 2:4-5).
"Levi" in the supreme sense is the Lord, and hence the man who has love and charity, and therefore the covenant of lives and peace with Levi is in love and charity.
[4] In Moses, speaking of Phinehas:
Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace; and it shall be unto him, and to his seed after him, the covenant of an eternal priesthood (Num. 25:12-13),
where by "Phinehas" is not meant Phinehas, but the priesthood which was represented by him, which signifies love and what is of love, as does all the priesthood of that church. Everyone knows that Phinehas did not have an eternal priesthood. Again:
Jehovah thy God, He is God; the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments, to the thousandth generation (Deut. 7:9, 12),
where it is plain that the presence of the Lord with man in love is the "covenant" for it is said that He keepeth it with them that love Him and keep His commandments.
[5] Since a "covenant" is the conjunction of the Lord with man by love, it follows that it is also by all things that pertain to love, which are the truths of faith, and are called precepts; for all precepts, indeed the Law and the Prophets, are founded on the one Law, to love the Lord above all things and the neighbor as oneself, as is evident from the words of the Lord (Matt. 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34). And therefore the tables on which were written the ten commandments, are called the "Tables of the Covenant." Since a covenant, or conjunction, is effected through the laws or precepts of love, it was effected also through the laws of society given by the Lord in the Jewish Church, which are called "testimonies;" and also through the rites of the church enjoined by the Lord, called "statutes." All these things are said to be of the "covenant" because they regard love and charity, as we read of Josiah the king:
The king stood upon the pillar, and made a covenant before Jehovah, to walk after Jehovah, and to keep His commandments, and His testimonies, and His statutes, with all the heart and with all the soul, to establish the words of this covenant (2 Kings 23:3).
[6] From these things it is now evident what a "covenant" is, and that the covenant is internal; for the conjunction of the Lord with man takes place by what is internal, and never by what is external separate from what is internal. External things are only types and representatives of internal, as the action of a man is a type representative of his thought and will; and as the work of charity is a type representative of the charity which is within, in the heart and mind. So all the rites of the Jewish Church were types representative of the Lord, consequently of love and charity, and of all things therefrom. Wherefore it is through the internals of man that a covenant and conjunction is made, and externals are only signs of the covenant, as indeed they are called. That a covenant and conjunction is made through internals is plainly evident, as in Jeremiah:
Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, forasmuch as they made vain My covenant but this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after these days, saith Jehovah; I will put My law in their inward parts and write it on their heart (Jer. 31:31-33),
where a new church is treated of. It is clearly stated that the veriest covenant is through the internals, and indeed in conscience on which the Law is inscribed, all of which is of love, as has been said.
[7] That external things are not the "covenant" unless internal things are adjoined to them, and thus by union act as one and the same cause; but are only "signs" of the covenant by means of which as by representative types the Lord might be kept in remembrance, is evident from the fact that the Sabbath and circumcision are called "signs" of the covenant. That the Sabbath is so called, we read in Moses:
The sons of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant; it is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel eternally (Exod. 31:16-17).
And that circumcision also is so called, in the same:
This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee; that every male be circumcised unto you; and ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and you (Gen. 17:10-11).
Hence also blood is called the "blood of the covenant" (Exod. 24:7-8).
[8] External rites are called "signs of a covenant" for the reason chiefly that interior things may be kept in mind by them, that is, the things signified by them. All the rites of the Jewish Church were nothing else. And for this reason they were also called "signs" that the people might be reminded by them of interior things-as for instance, the binding of the chief commandment on the hand and on the forehead, as in Moses:
Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might; and these words thou shalt bind for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes (Deut. 6:5, 8; 11:13, 18).
Here "hand" signifies the will because it signifies power, for power is of the will; "frontlets between the eyes" signify the understanding; thus the "sign" signifies remembrance of the chief commandment, or of the Law in sum, that it may be continually in the will and in the thought, that is, that the presence of the Lord and of love may be in all the will and in all the thought. Such is the presence of the Lord and of mutual love from Him with the angels, which continual presence will be further described, by the Divine mercy of the Lord, hereafter. In like manner, in the present verse its being said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you: I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth" signifies no other sign than an indication of the presence of the Lord in charity, thus the remembrance of Him in man. But how there is thence, or from the bow in the cloud, a sign and remembrance, will be told, of the Lord's Divine mercy, in what follows.


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