(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 5265

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5265. The seven good kine are seven years. That this signifies states of the multiplication of truth in the interior natural, is evident from the signification of "kine," as being in a good sense truths of the interior natural (see n. 5198); and from the signification of "years," as being states (n. 482, 487, 488, 493, 893). That there were seven is because "seven" signifies what is holy, and hence adds holiness to the subject treated of (n. 395, 433, 716, 881); and it also involves an entire period from beginning to end (see n. 728). Hence it is that seven kine and seven ears of corn were seen in the dream, and afterward that there were seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine. Hence also it is that the seventh day was hallowed, and that in the representative church the seventh year was the sabbatical year, and that after seven times seven years was the jubilee.
[2] That "seven" signifies holy things comes from the signification of numbers in the world of spirits, where every number involves some thing. Numbers, simple and compound, have sometimes appeared to my sight, and once in a long series; and when I wondered what they signified, I was told that they came forth from angelic speech, and that sometimes real things are wont to be expressed by numbers. These numbers do not appear in heaven, but in the world of spirits, where such things are presented to view. This was known to the most ancient people who were celestial men and conversed with angels, and hence they formed an ecclesiastical reckoning by means of numbers, by which they expressed universally the things they expressed particularly by words. But what each number had involved did not remain with their posterity, except only what was signified by the simple numbers, two, three, six, seven, eight, twelve; and derivatively by twenty-four, seventy-two, and seventy-seven-especially that by "seven" was signified what is most holy, in the supreme sense the Divine Itself, and in the representative sense the celestial of love. This is the reason why the state of the celestial man was signified by the "seventh day" (n. 84-87). That numbers signify real things, is obvious from very many numbers in the Word, as from these in Revelation:
Let him that hath intelligence compute the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred and sixty-six (Rev. 13:18).
And again:
The angel measured the wall of the holy Jerusalem, a hundred and forty-four cubits, which is the measure of a man, that is of an angel (Rev. 21:17);
the number a hundred and forty-four is from twelve multiplied into itself, and from this comes seventy-two.


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