(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 8908

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8908. Thou shalt not answer against thy neighbor the witness of a lie. That this signifies that good is not to be called evil, nor truth falsity; thus conversely, neither is evil to be called good, nor falsity truth, is evident from the signification of "the witness of a lie," as being the confirmation of falsity. (That "witness" denotes confirmation, see n. 4197; and that "a lie" denotes the falsity of faith will be plain from what follows.) "To answer against a neighbor" denotes to speak in such manner against anyone; for by "neighbor" is signified every man, and specifically everyone who is in good, and in the abstract sense, good itself (n. 3419, 5025, 6704, 6706-6711, 6818, 8123). Consequently "thou shalt not answer against thy neighbor the witness of a lie," in the internal sense denotes not to say to anyone what is false, that is, to say that what is good is evil, and what is true is false, or the converse.
[2] How the case herein is shall be briefly explained. All with whom there reigns the love of self or the love of the world, that is, who have as their end eminence, or honors, or wealth, or gain, do not hesitate to say and persuade others that what is just is unjust, and that what is unjust is just, and thus to act the part of witnesses of a lie. The reason why they are of such a character is that their will is wholly subject to these loves and their cupidities, and is wholly occupied and possessed by them; and then the understanding, which is the other part of the mind, is indeed able to see what is just and what is unjust; but is not willing to see, because the will prevails over the understanding, and by means of influx persuades it, and at last also blinds it. These same persons neither have conscience, nor do they know that it belongs to conscience to call that just which is just, for no other reason than because it is just, that is, from the love of what is just. They who are of this character in the world are also of the same character in the other life, but with the difference that they do not then call what is just unjust, but the good which is of faith they call evil, and truth they call falsity; for what is just in the civil world corresponds to what is good and true in the spiritual world. And they do this without conscience and also without shame, because they have been inured and habituated to it in the life of the body.
[3] Frequent mention is made in the Word of "a lie," and by this in the internal sense is everywhere signified the falsity and evil of faith, and by "the witness of a lie," which is also called "the witness of violence," is signified the confirmation of falsity, whether it be before a judge, or before anyone else, or before oneself within the thought by self-persuasion (as in Exod. 23:1, and following verses; Lev. 19:11, 12; Deut. 19:16-20). That in the spiritual sense "a lie" denotes the evil and falsity of faith, is evident from the following passages. In John:
Ye are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh from his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44).
"A lie" here denotes the falsity of faith; for the subject treated of is the Jews, that they were not willing to acknowledge the Lord. In the spiritual sense "the devil" here denotes falsity, and "the father of it" denotes evil; for falsity is from evil as a son is from his father. The falsity which is of the devil is the falsity of faith, and the evil is the evil of the love of self and the love of the world.
[4] In Isaiah:
Moab is exceeding haughty, his pride, and his haughtiness, and his anger, his lies are not firm (Isa. 16:6).
"Lies" denote the falsities of faith, because "Moab" denotes those who are in the evil of the love of self, and therefore falsify truths (see n. 2468, 8315). Again:
We have made a covenant with death, and with hell have we made a vision; we have made a lie our trust, and have lurked in falsehood (Isa. 28:15).
This is a rebellious people, lying sons, sons that are not willing to hear the law of Jehovah (Isa. 30:9).
They mock every man his companion, and speak not the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak a lie (Jer. 9:5).
I am against them that prophesy dreams of a lie, and tell them, that they may seduce My people by their lies (Jer. 23:32).
O sword against the liars, that they may be foolish (Jer. 50:36).
They have seen vanity and divination of a lie, saying, Jehovah hath said, when Jehovah hath not sent them. Therefore thus said the Lord Jehovih, Because ye speak vanity, and see a lie, therefore behold I am against you (Ezek. 13:6-9).
Woe to the city of bloods! it is all full of lying and rapine (Nah. 3:1).
The remains of Israel do no perversity, nor will they speak a lie, neither shall a tongue of fraud be found in their mouth; they shall feed and be at rest (Zeph. 3:13).
Without are dogs, and enchanters, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and everyone that loveth and maketh a lie (Rev. 22:15).
In these as in many other passages "a lie" denotes the falsity and evil of faith.


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