(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 8906

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8906. Thou shalt not steal. That this signifies that no one's spiritual goods must be taken away from him, and that those things which belong to the Lord are not to be attributed to self, is evident from the signification of "stealing," as being to take away spiritual goods from anyone. That this is signified by "stealing," is because riches and wealth in the spiritual sense are the knowledges of good and truth, in general all those things which are of faith and charity, that is, which are of spiritual life in man. Wherefore to take these things away from anyone is "to steal" in the spiritual sense. And because all spiritual goods, that is, all things of faith and charity, are from the Lord alone, and absolutely nothing from man, therefore by "stealing" is also signified to attribute to oneself what belongs to the Lord. They who do this are also called "thieves and robbers" in John:
Verily I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber; but he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. I am the door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not but that he may steal, and slay, and destroy; I came that they may have life, and may have abundance (John 10:1, 2, 9, 10).
"To enter by the door into the sheepfold" denotes to enter by the Lord, for the Lord is the "door," as He Himself says; "the sheep" are they who are in charity and thence in faith. These enter by the Lord when they acknowledge that from Him is everything of faith and charity, for then these flow in from Him. But to attribute them to others, especially to themselves, is to take them away, thus "to slay and to destroy." They who attribute to themselves what is the Lord's, also place merit in works, and make themselves righteousness (see n. 1110, 1877, 2027, 2273, 2340, 2373, 2400, 3816, 4007, 4174, 4943, 6388-6390, 6392, 6393, 6478). This then is "stealing" in the spiritual sense, and this comes to the angels in heaven when man reads in the Word about "stealing," for the angels understand the Word only spiritually.
[2] The like is signified by "stealing" in Hosea:
When I healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was revealed, and the evils of Samaria; because they wrought a lie; and the thief cometh, the troop spreadeth itself abroad; now do their works encompass them before My faces; they make the king glad by their wickedness, and the princes by their lies (Hos. 7:1-3).
And in Joel:
The day of Jehovah cometh. A fire devoureth before it, and after it a flame burneth; the land is as the garden of Eden before it, but after it a waste wilderness. The appearance thereof is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so do they run, as the sound of chariots on the tops of the mountains; they run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall, they climb up into the houses, they enter in through the windows like a thief. The earth quaked before Him, the heavens trembled, the sun and the moon were made black, and the stars withdrew their shining (Joel 2:1-10).
The subject here treated of is the desolation of the church, when falsities break in and destroy truths; these falsities are the "thieves who climb up into houses and enter in through the windows." Who can help wondering why it is said that "the day of Jehovah will be as the appearance of horses," and that then "they shall run like horsemen, they shall run to and fro in the city, they shall run on the wall, shall climb up into the houses, shall enter in through the windows, the earth shall quake, the heavens shall tremble, the sun and the moon shall be made black, and the stars shall withdraw their shining?" He who knows nothing of the internal sense, and who in his heart calls the holiness of the Word into doubt, will say that these are mere words devoid of anything Divine stored up within them, and perhaps will call them worthless sayings. But he who believes that the Word is most holy, because it is Divine, and who moreover knows that there is an internal sense which treats of the church, of heaven, and of the Lord Himself, will confess that every word herein has its own weighty import. It shall therefore be briefly unfolded what the words and sayings in this passage signify.
[3] "The day of Jehovah" denotes the last state, or last time, of the church, when there is no longer any truth, but falsity in the place of truth; "the fire which devours before it" denotes the desire of evil; "the flame which burns after it" denotes the consequent desire of falsity; "the appearance of horses" denotes the intellectual reasoning from falsity as if from truth; "the horsemen who run" denote reasoners; "the chariots" denote doctrinal things of falsity; "a city" denotes the doctrine itself; "the wall upon which they run" denotes essential falsity; "the houses into which they climb" denotes the will of man; "the windows through which they enter in" denote intellectual things; "the thief" denotes the falsity which takes away truth; "the earth which will quake before Him" denotes the church, so also do "the heavens which will tremble;" "the sun" denotes love to the Lord; "the moon," faith in Him, these are said to be "made black" when they no longer appear; "the stars" denote the knowledges of good and truth which will no longer have light from faith and love, thus from heaven, and this is meant by "withdrawing their shining." From all this it can be seen what these words involve in general, and also in what sense "that day," or the last state of the church, is called "a thief who will climb up into the houses, and enter in through the windows," namely, that it is falsity, which will then take possession of the whole man, both of his will and of his understanding, and thus will take away all truth and good. The like is signified by a "thief" in Obadiah:
The Lord Jehovih said to Edom, If thieves came to thee, if destroyers by night (how art thou cut off!), will they not steal till they have enough? (Obad. 1, 5).
In like manner by a "thief," or "one who steals," in Zech. 5:1-4; Ps. 50:18-20; Matt. 6:19, 20.
[4] As all the statutes commanded the sons of Israel by the Lord were founded on the laws of order which are in heaven, that is, derived their existence and essence from the spiritual world, so for the same reason were the statutes which were enacted concerning theft; as that he who stole an ox and sold it should restore five, if a sheep four (Exod. 22:1); also that if a thief be smitten in breaking in, there shall be no blood; but if the sun be risen, there shall be blood; the thief shall repay or shall be sold; if the theft be found in his hand, he shall restore double (Exod. 22:2-4).
He that stealeth a man, and selleth him, but if he be found in his hand, dying he shall die (Exod. 21:16).
If a man be found who hath stolen a soul of his brethren, of the sons of Israel, and hath made gain in him, while he sold him, that thief shall be killed; that thou mayest put away the evil from the midst of thee (Deut. 24:7).
in the internal sense "the men of the sons of Israel" denote those who are in the truths and goods of faith, thus in the abstract sense they denote the truths and goods of faith (n. 5414, 5879, 5951); and therefore "to steal a man of the sons of Israel" denotes to take these away, and "to sell him" denotes to cast them off, and also to make them serve. For the truths and goods of faith, being from the Lord, are in a free state, and serve the Lord alone; but when they are cast off, they then come into a servile state, for they serve any evil of the love of self or of the love of the world, thus any bodily cupidity; whence come the derivation and correspondence of the above law. And as then from being free the truth and good of the church become servile, thus from being alive become dead, therefore the penalty which is the effect, is "death."


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