(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 3813

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3813. As regards "flesh," in the supreme sense it signifies the own of the Lord's Divine Human, which is Divine good, and in the relative sense it signifies the own of man's will made alive by the own of the Divine Human, that is, by His Divine good. This own is what is called the heavenly own, which in itself is the Lord's alone appropriated to those who are in good, and thence in truth. Such an own have the angels who are in the heavens, and men who as to their interiors or as to the spirit are in the Lord's kingdom. But in the opposite sense, "flesh" signifies the own of man's will, which in itself is nothing but evil, and not being vivified by the Lord is called "dead," and thus the man himself is said to be dead.
[2] That in the supreme sense "flesh" is the own of the Lord's Divine Human, thus His Divine good, is evident from the Lord's words in John:
Jesus said, I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove one with another, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat ? Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you; he that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day; for My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed; he that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. This is the bread which came down from heaven (John 6:51-56, 58);
that here "flesh" is the own of the Lord's Divine Human, thus the Divine good, is very evident; and this is what in the Holy Supper is called the "body." That in the Holy Supper the "body" or "flesh" signifies the Divine good; and the "blood" the Divine truth, may be seen above (n. 1798, 2165, 2177, 3464, 3735); and because "bread and wine" signify the same as "flesh and blood," namely, "bread," the Lord's Divine good, and "wine," His Divine truth, therefore the latter were enjoined instead of the former. This is the reason why the Lord said, "I am the living bread; the bread which I shall give is My flesh; he that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him; this is the bread which came down from heaven." (That "to eat" signifies to be communicated, to be conjoined, and to be appropriated, see above, n. 2187, 2343, 3168, 3513, 3596.)
[3] The same was represented in the Jewish Church by the ordinance that Aaron, his sons, and they who sacrificed, and others who were clean, might eat the flesh of the sacrifices, and that this was holy (Exod. 12:7-9; 29:30-34; Lev. 7:15-21; 8:31; Deut. 12:27; 16:4). If therefore an unclean person ate of that flesh, he was to be cut off from his people (Lev. 7:21). (That these sacrifices were called "bread," may be seen above, n. 2165.) That "flesh" was called the "flesh of holiness" (Jer. 11:15; Haggai 2:12), and the "flesh of the offering which was on the tables in the Lord's kingdom," see Ezek. 40:43, where the new temple is described, by which there is evidently signified the worship of the Lord in His kingdom.
[4] That in the relative sense "flesh" signifies the own of man's will made alive by the Lord's Divine good, is evident also from the following passages. In Ezekiel:
I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit in the midst of you; and I will remove the heart of stone out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh (Ezek. 11:19; 36:26);
where the "heart of stone out of their flesh" denotes the will and the own not vivified; and the "heart of flesh," the will and the own vivified. (That the "heart" is a representative of the good of the will, may be seen above, n. 2930, 3313, 3635.) In David:
O God Thou art my God; in the morning I seek Thee; my-soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry land; and I am weary without waters (Ps. 63:1).
My soul longeth for the courts of Jehovah; my heart and my flesh cry out for joy unto the living God (Ps. 84:2).
[5] In Job:
I have known my Redeemer, He liveth, and at the last He shall rise upon the dust; and afterwards these things shall be encompassed with my skin, and from my flesh I shall see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold; and not another (Job 19:25-27);
to be "encompassed with skin" denotes with the natural, such as man has with him after death (n. 3539); "from the flesh to see God" denotes the own vivified; therefore he says, "whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another." As it was known to the churches that flesh signified man's own, and as the book of Job is a book of the Ancient Church (see n. 3540), he therefore spoke concerning these things from what is significative, as concerning many other things, in accordance with the custom of that time; so that those who deduce from this passage that the dead body itself shall be collected from the four winds, and shall rise again, are not acquainted with the internal sense of the Word. They who know the internal sense, know that they shall come into the other life with a body, but a purer one; for in the other life there are purer bodies; for they see each other, converse together, and enjoy every sense as in the present body, but in a more exquisite degree. The body which man carries about here on earth is for uses on earth, and therefore consists of bones and flesh; and the body which the spirit carries about in the other life is designed for uses in that life, and does not consist of bones and flesh, but of things which correspond to them (n. 3726).
[6] That in the opposite sense "flesh" signifies the own of man's will, which in itself is nothing but evil, is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:
They shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm (Isa. 9:20).
I will feed their oppressors with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with new wine (Isa. 49:26).
In Jeremiah:
I will feed them with the flesh of their sons, and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat everyone the flesh of his companion (Jer. 19:9).
In Zechariah:
Let those who are left eat everyone the flesh of another (Zech. 11:9).
In Moses:
I will chastise you seven* times for your sins; and ye shall eat the flesh of your sons; and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat (Lev. 26:28-29).
The own of man's will, that is, the nature of man, is thus described, for this is nothing else than evil and the derivative falsity; thus is hatred against truths and goods, which is signified by "eating the flesh of his arm, the flesh of sons and daughters, and the flesh of a companion."
[7] In John:
I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a great voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God, that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and of them that sit thereon, and the flesh of all both free and bond, both small and great (Rev. 19:17-18; Ezek. 39:17-20);
that here by the "flesh of kings, of captains, of mighty men, of horses and of those that sit upon them, of all, both free and bond," are not signified such things as these, must be evident to everyone; thus that by "flesh" are signified other things which have hitherto been unknown. That evils which are from falsities, and evils from which are falsities, both from the own of man's will, are signified, is manifest from the several expressions.
[8] As in the internal sense the falsity which results from the own of man's understanding is "blood"; and as the evil which results from the own of his will is "flesh," therefore the Lord speaks as follows concerning the man who is to be regenerated:
As many as received, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in His name; who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13).
Hence it is that by "flesh" in general is meant every man (see n. 574, 1050); for whether you say man, or man's own, it is the same thing.
[9] That by "flesh" in the supreme sense is signified the Lord's Divine Human is manifest from the passage above quoted, and also from this in John:
The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we held His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14).
From this "flesh" all flesh is vivified, that is to say, every man is vivified from the Lord's Divine Human by the appropriation of His love, which appropriation is signified by "eating the flesh of the Son of man" (John 6:51-58), and by "eating the bread" in the Holy Supper; for the "bread" is the "body" or "flesh" (Matt. 26:26, 27).
* The Latin is Ego, ecce Ego, "I, behold I."


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