(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 2686

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2686. That a "bow" here denotes the doctrine of truth, is evident from its signification. Wherever wars are treated of in the Word, and wherever they are mentioned, no other wars are signified than spiritual ones (n. 1664). There were books also in the Ancient Word that were entitled "The Wars of Jehovah;" as is evident in Moses (Num. 21:14-16); which, being written in the prophetic style, had an internal sense, and treated of the combats and temptations of the Lord, and also of those of the church, and of the men of the church. This is manifest from the fact that some things were taken from these books by Moses; and also from other books of that church called "The Books of the Prophetic Enunciators" (respecting which see Num. 21:27-30), in which almost the same words are found as in Jeremiah (compare Num. 21:28, and Jer. 48:45). From this it may also be concluded that the Ancient Church had writings both historic and prophetic that were Divine and inspired, and that in their internal sense treated of the Lord and His kingdom; and that these were the Word to them, as are to us those historic and prophetic books which in the sense of the letter treat of the Jews and Israelites, but in their internal sense of the Lord, and of the things which are His.
[2] As in the Word, and also in the books of the Ancient Church, "war" signified spiritual war, so all arms, such as sword, spear, buckler, shield, darts, bow, and arrows, signified special things belonging to war as understood in the spiritual sense. What the several kinds of arms specifically signify, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be told elsewhere. Here it will now be shown what a "bow" signifies, namely, the doctrine of truth; and this from the darts, arrows, or other missiles, which denote the doctrinal things from which and with which those in especial fight who are spiritual, and who were thence formerly called "shooters with the bow."
[3] That a "bow" signifies the doctrine of truth is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:
Jehovah's arrows are sharp, and all His bows are bent, the hoofs of His horses are counted as rock, and His wheels as the whirlwind (Isa. 5:28).
Here the truths of doctrine are treated of; "arrows" are spiritual truths; "bows" are doctrine; the "horses' hoofs" are natural truths; the "wheels" are their doctrine; and as these things have such a signification they are attributed to Jehovah, to whom they cannot be attributed except in a spiritual sense; for otherwise they would be empty words and unbecoming. In Jeremiah:
The Lord hath bent His bow like an enemy, He hath stood with His right hand as an adversary, and hath slain all that were pleasant to the eye in the tent of the daughter of Zion, He hath poured out His fury like fire (Lam. 2:4).
Here "bow" denotes the doctrine of truth, which appears to those who are in falsities as an enemy and as hostile; no other bow can be predicated of the Lord. In Habakkuk:
O Jehovah, Thou ridest upon Thy horses, Thy chariots of salvation, Thy bow will be made quite bare (Hab. 3:8-9).
Here also the "bow" is the doctrine of good and truth. In Moses:
They grieved him, and shot at him, the archers hated him, his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob; from thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel (Gen. 49:23-24);
where Joseph is spoken of. His "bow" denotes the doctrine of good and truth.
[4] In John:
I saw and behold a white horse, and he that sat thereon had a bow, and there was given unto him a crown (Rev. 6:2).
The "white horse" denotes wisdom; "he that sat thereon," the Word, as is said plainly in chapter 19:13, where the white horse is again treated of; and as he that sat thereon was the Word, it is evident that the "bow" is the doctrine of truth. In Isaiah:
Who hath raised up righteousness from the east, and called him to his footsteps? He hath given nations before him, and made him to rule over kings; he gave them as dust to his sword, as the driven stubble to his bow (Isa. 41:2);
where the Lord is treated of; the "sword" denotes truth; the "bow," doctrine from Him. In the same:
I will set a sign among them, and I will send such as escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan (Isa. 66:19).
They that "draw the bow" denote those who teach doctrine. The signification of "Tarshish" may be seen above (n. 1156); that of "Lud" (n. 1195, 1231), that of "Tubal" (n. 1151), and that of "Javan" (1152-1153, 1155).
[5] In Jeremiah:
For the voice of the horseman and of him that shooteth the bow, the whole city fleeth; they have entered into clouds, and climbed up upon the rocks, the whole city is forsaken (Jer. 4:29).
The "horseman" denotes those who declare truth; the "bow," the doctrine of truth, which they who are in falsities flee from or fear. In the same:
Set yourselves in array against Babel round about; all ye that bend the bow shoot at her, spare not with the arrow, for she hath sinned against Jehovah (Jer. 50:14, 29; 51:2-3);
where "they that shoot, and bend the bow" denote those who declare and teach the doctrine of truth.
[6] In Zechariah:
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and He shall speak peace unto the nations (Zech. 9:10).
"Ephraim" denotes the understanding of truth in the church; the "bow," doctrine. In Samuel:
David lamented with this lamentation over Saul, and over Jonathan his son, and he said it to teach the sons of Judah the bow (2 Sam. 1:17-18).
where the "bow" is not the subject, but the doctrinal things of faith. In Ezekiel:
Said the Lord Jehovih, This is the day whereof I have spoken; and they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn up the weapons, the shield and the buckler, the bow and the arrows, and the hand staff and the spear, and they shall kindle fire in them seven years (Ezek. 39:8-9).
The arms here named are all arms of spiritual war; the "bow with the arrows" denote doctrine and its truths. In the other life truths themselves, when separated from good and represented to the sight, appear like arrows.
[7] As a "bow" signifies the doctrine of truth, in the opposite sense it signifies the doctrine of falsity. The same things in the Word have usually an opposite sense, as has been said and shown in several places; thus in Jeremiah:
Behold a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be stirred up from the sides of the earth; they lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and shall not have compassion; their voice shall roar like the sea, they shall ride upon horses set in array as a man for battle, against thee, O daughter of Zion (Jer. 6:22-23);
where "bow" denotes the doctrine of falsity. In the same:
Behold a people cometh from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be stirred up from the sides of the earth, they lay hold on bow and spear, they are cruel, and have no compassion (Jer. 50:41-42);
where the meaning is similar. In the same:
They bend their tongue; their bow is a lie, and not for truth, they are grown strong in the land; for they have gone forth from evil to evil, and have not known Me (Jer. 9:3).
[8] That the "bow" is the doctrine of falsity is plainly manifest, for it is said, "they bend their tongue; their bow is a lie, and not for truth." In the same:
Jehovah Zebaoth said, Behold I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of his might (Jer. 49:35).
In David:
Come, behold the works of Jehovah, who hath made desolations in the earth; He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth, He breaketh the bow, He cutteth the spear in sunder, He burneth the chariots in the fire (Ps. 46:9).
In Judah is God known, His name is great in Israel; in Salem also shall be His tabernacle, and His dwelling-place in Zion; there brake He the fiery shafts of the bow, the shield and the sword, and the war (Ps. 76:1-3).
In the same:
Lo the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrows upon the string, to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart (Ps. 11:2).
Here the "bow and arrows" plainly denote doctrinal things of falsity.


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