(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 3901

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3901. The reason why the last state of the church is compared to "eagles" gathered together to a "carcass," or to a "body," is that by "eagles" are signified man's rational things, which when predicated of the good, are true rational things; but when predicated of the evil, are false rational things or reasonings. "Birds" in general signify man's thoughts, in both senses good and bad (n. 40, 745, 776, 866, 991, 3219); and every species has a special signification. As eagles fly high and are sharp-sighted, they signify rational things. That this is the case may be seen from many passages in the Word, of which in confirmation we may adduce the following. First, where they signify true rational things; in Moses:
Jehovah found His people in a desert land, and in emptiness, in wailing, in solitude: He led him about, He instructed him, he kept him as the pupil of the eye; as the eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth out her wings, taketh him, beareth him upon her wings (Deut. 32:10-11).
Instruction in the truths and goods of faith is what is here described, and is compared to the "eagle." The very process until man becomes rational and spiritual, is contained in the description and comparison. The comparisons in the Word are all made by means of significatives; thus here by the "eagle," which is the rational.
[2] In the same: Jehovah said to Moses:
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and bare you up upon eagles' wings, that I might bring you unto Myself (Exod. 19:3-4);
denoting the same. In Isaiah:
They that wait upon Jehovah shall be renewed in strength, they shall mount up with strong wing as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isa. 40:31);
"to be renewed in strength" is to grow as to the willing of good; and "to mount up with strong wing as eagles" is to grow as to the understanding of truth, thus as to the rational. The subject is set forth here as elsewhere by two expressions, one of which involves the good which is of the will, and the other the truth which is of the understanding; and the case is the same with the expressions, "they shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint."
[3] In Ezekiel:
Speak a parable about the house of Israel, and say, Thus said the Lord Jehovih, A great eagle, with long pinions, full of feathers, that had embroidery, came upon Lebanon, and took a twig of the cedar; he carried it into a land of traffic, he set it in a city of spice merchants. It grew, and became a spreading vine. There was another great eagle, with great and many feathers; and behold this vine did bend its roots toward him, and sent forth its branches toward him, that he might water it from the beds of its plantations in a good field, by many waters; but it shall be laid waste. He sent his ambassadors into Egypt that they might give him horses and much people (Ezek. 17:2-9, 15).
The "eagle" first mentioned denotes the rational enlightened by the Divine; the "eagle" mentioned in the second place denotes the rational from what is man's own, afterwards become perverted through reasonings from sensuous things and memory-knowledges. ("Egypt" denotes memory-knowledges, see n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462; "horses" the intellectual from them, n. 2761-2762, 3217.)
[4] In Daniel:
The vision of Daniel: Four beasts came up out of the sea, diverse one from another; the first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I held till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand upon its feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it (Dan. 7:3-4).
The first state of the church is what is here described by a "lion that had eagle's wings;" and the "eagle's wings" here are rational things from what is man's own, on the taking away of which they were given rational and voluntary things from the Divine, which are signified by its "being taken up from the earth, and made to stand upon its feet like a man, and having a man's heart given to it."
[5] In Ezekiel, in the description of the likeness of the faces of the four living creatures, or cherubs:
They had the face of a man, and they four had the face of a lion on the right side, and they four had the face of an ox on the left side, and they four had the face of an eagle (Ezek. 1:10).
As for the wheels they were called Galgal [whirling wheels], and everyone and everyone had four faces; the first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle (Ezek. 10:13-14).
In John:
Round about the throne were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind; the first living creature was like a lion; and the second living creature was like a calf; and the third living creature had a face as a man; and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle (Rev. 4:6-7).
That the living creatures thus seen signify Divine arcana, is evident; and consequently so does the "likeness of their faces;" but what arcana in particular are signified cannot be known unless it is known what in the internal sense is a "lion," a "calf," a "man," and an "eagle." That the "face of an eagle" is circumspection and consequently Providence is manifest; for the cherubs represented by the living creatures in Ezekiel signify the Providence of the Lord lest man should enter into the mysteries of faith from himself and his own rational (see n. 308). This shows that when it is predicated of man, the "eagle" is in the internal sense the rational; and this for the reason that the eagle flies high, and from above has a wide view of the things that are below.
[6] In Job:
Does the hawk fly by thine intelligence, and stretch her wings toward the south? Does the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? (Job 39:26-27);
it is evident that the "eagle" here is reason, which is of intelligence. Such was the signification of the "eagle" in the Ancient Church; for the book of Job is a book of the Ancient Church (see n. 3540, end). Almost all the books of that period were written by means of significatives; but in process of time the significatives have become so completely forgotten that it is not even known that "birds" in general denote thoughts, although they are so frequently mentioned in the Word and it appears quite plain that they have another meaning.
[7] That in the opposite sense an "eagle" signifies rational things that are not true, and thus are false, is evident from the following passages. In Moses:
Jehovah shall bring upon thee a nation from far from the end of the earth, as the eagle flieth, a nation whose tongue thou hearest not, a nation hard in faces (Deut. 28:49-50).
In Jeremiah:
Behold he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles.* Woe unto us! For we are laid waste (Jer. 4:13).
In the same:
Thy boasting hath deceived thee, the pride of thy heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill; because thou makest thy nest as high as the eagle I will bring thee down from thence. Behold he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread out his wings above Bozrah; and the heart of the mighty men of Edom at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs (Jer. 49:16, 22).
In the same:
Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles; they chased us upon the mountains; they laid wait for us in the wilderness (Lam. 4:19).
In Micah:
Make thee bald, and poll thee for the sons of thy delights; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee (Micah 1:16).
In Obadiah:
Though thou mount on high as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, I will bring thee down from thence (Obad. 4).
In Habukkuk:
I am stirring up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation, that marcheth through the breadths of the land to inherit dwelling-places that are not theirs. Their horses are swifter than eagles;* their horsemen come from far, they fly as an eagle that hasteth to devour (Hab. 1:6, 8).
[8] By "eagles" in these passages is signified falsity induced by reasonings, which is induced from the fallacies of the senses and external appearances. That by the "Chaldeans" in the Prophet last cited are signified those who are in a holy external, but interiorly in falsity, may be seen above (n. 1368); also that they who vastate the church are like Babylon (n. 1327); that the "breadths of the land" denote truths (n. 3433, 3434). Vastation is signified by "marching through the breadths of the land." Their "horses" are their intellectual things, which are similar (see n. 2761, 2762, 3217). What the "eagle hastening to devour" signifies, is thus evident, namely, the desolation of man in respect to truths; for the desolation of the church is there treated of. Comparisons are here made with eagles; but as before said, the comparisons in the Word are made by means of significatives. From all this we can now see what is signified by the comparison with the "eagles that will be gathered together to the carcass."
* The Latin here has aquilis, eagles. Elsewhere sometimes pardis, leopards, as in the Apocalypse Explained, n. 281, 355; but aquilis in n. 780 of that work. In the Hebrew the two words are nearly alike in form. Schmidius reads pardis. [Reviser.]


1. And Rachel saw that she did not bear to Jacob, and Rachel was zealous against her sister; and she said unto Jacob, Give me sons; and if not, I am dead.
2. And Jacob was kindled with anger against Rachel, and he said, Am I in God's stead, who withholdeth from thee the fruit of the belly?
3. And she said, Behold my maidservant Bilhah, come to her, and she shall bear upon my knees, and I shall be built, even I, from her.
4. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid for a woman, and Jacob came to her.
5. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.
6. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and also hath heard my voice, and hath given me a son; therefore she called his name Dan.
7. And she conceived again, and Bilhah Rachel's handmaid bare a second son to Jacob.
8. And Rachel said, With the wrestlings of God have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed; and she called his name Naphtali.
9. And Leah saw that she had stood still from bearing; and she took Zilpah her handmaid, and gave her to Jacob for a woman.
10. And Zilpah Leah's handmaid bare Jacob a son.
11. And Leah said, A troop cometh; and she called his name Gad.
12. And Zilpah Leah's handmaid bare a second son to Jacob.
13. And Leah said, In my blessedness; for the daughters will call me blessed; and she called his name Asher.
14. And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found dudaim in the field, and brought them unto Leah his mother. And Rachel said to Leah, Give me I pray of thy son's dudaim.
15. And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken away my man, and wouldest thou take also my son's dudaim? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee tonight for thy son's dudaim.
16. And Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come to me, for hiring I have hired thee with my son's dudaim; and he lay with her that night.
17. And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived and bare Jacob a fifth son.
18. And Leah said, God hath given me my reward, because I gave my handmaid to my man; and she called his name Issachar.
19. And Leah conceived again, and bare a sixth son to Jacob.
20. And Leah said, God hath endowed me with a good dowry; now will my man dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons; and she called his name Zebulun.
21. And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
22. And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
23. And she conceived, and bare a son, and said, God hath gathered my reproach.
24. And she called his name Joseph, saying, Let Jehovah add to me another son.
25. And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, and I will go to my place and to my land.
26. Give me my females, and my children, for whom I have served thee, and I will go; for thou knowest my service, wherewith I have served thee.
27. And Laban said unto him, If I pray I have found grace in thine eyes, I have tested it, and Jehovah hath blessed me for thy sake.
28. And he said, Signify to me thy reward, and I will give it.
29. And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy substance has been with me.
30. For it was little that thou hadst before me, and it hath burst forth into a multitude, and Jehovah hath blessed thee at my foot; and now when shall I also be doing for mine own house?
31. And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me anything; if thou wilt do this word for me, I will return, and feed and keep thy flock.
32. I will pass through all thy flock this day, removing from thence every small cattle that is speckled and spotted, and every black one among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and these shall be my reward.
33. And my righteousness shall answer for me on the morrow, because thou comest upon my reward before thee; every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the lambs, stolen is this with me.
34. And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.
35. And he removed that day the he-goats that were party-colored and spotted, and all the she-goats that were speckled and spotted, everyone that had white in it, and all the black among the lambs, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
36. And he set a way of three days between himself and Jacob; and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
37. And Jacob took him a fresh rod of poplar, and hazel, and plane-tree, and peeled white peelings on them, laying bare the white that was upon the rods.
38. And he set the rods which he had peeled in the gutters, in the watering troughs, whither the flocks came to drink, over against the flocks; and they grew warm when they came to drink.
39. And the flocks grew warm at the rods, and the flocks brought forth party-colored, speckled, and spotted.
40. And Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flock toward the party-colored and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put for himself droves for himself alone, and put them not unto Laban's flock.
41. And it came to pass in every growing warm of the flock that came together first, that Jacob put the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that it might grow warm at the rods.
42. And to the flock that came together later he did not set them; and those that came together later were Laban's, and those that came together first were Jacob's.
43. And the man spread himself abroad exceeding greatly, and he had many flocks, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.


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