FLOOD >> Temptation >> Vastations >> Desolation
That by the "flood of waters" is signified the beginning of temptation, is evident from temptation as to things of the understanding being here treated of, which temptation precedes, and, as before said, is light; and for this reason it is called a "flood of waters" and not simply "a flood" as in the seventeenth verse. For "waters" signify especially the spiritual things of man, the intellectual things of faith, and the opposites of these, which are falsities; as may be confirmed by very many passages from the Word.
 That a "flood" or "inundation" of waters signifies temptation, is evident from what was shown in the introduction to this chapter. So also in Ezekiel:
Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, I will make a stormy wind to break through in My fury, and an inundating rain shall there be in Mine anger, and hailstones in wrath, unto the consummation, that I may destroy the wall that ye have daubed with what is unfit (Ezek. 13:13-14).
Here a "stormy wind" and an "inundating rain" denote the desolation of falsities; the "wall daubed with what is unfit" denotes fiction appearing as truth. In Isaiah:
Jehovah God is a protection from inundation, a shadow from the heat, for the breath of the violent is as an inundation against the wall (Isa. 25:4).
An "inundation" here denotes temptation as to things of the understanding, and is distinguished from temptation as to things of the will, which is called "heat."
Behold the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, as an inundation of hail, a destroying storm, as an inundation of mighty waters, overflowing (Isa. 28:2),
where degrees of temptation are described. And again:
When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, and the flame shall not kindle upon thee (Isa. 43:2).
"Waters" and "rivers" here denote falsities and phantasies, "fire" and "flame" evils and cupidities. In David:
For this shall everyone that is holy pray unto Thee at a time of finding; so that in the inundation of many waters they shall not reach unto him; Thou art my hiding place; Thou wilt preserve me from trouble (Ps. 32:6-7),where the "inundation of waters" denotes temptation which is also called a "flood." In the same:
Jehovah sitteth at the flood; yea, Jehovah sitteth King forever (Ps. 29:10).
From these passages, and from what was premised at the beginning of this chapter, it is evident that a "flood" or "inundation" of waters signifies nothing else than temptations and vastations , although described historically, after the manner of the most ancient people. [AC739]
The subject here specifically treated of is the "flood" by which is signified not only the temptations which the man of the church called "Noah" had to undergo before he could be regenerated, but also the desolation of those who could not be regenerated. Both temptations and desolations are compared in the Word to "floods" or "inundations" of waters, and are so called. Temptations are denoted in Isaiah:
For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but in great compassions will I gather thee again. In an inundation of anger I hid my faces from thee for a moment; but in the mercy of eternity will I have compassion upon thee, saith Jehovah thy Redeemer. For this is the waters of Noah unto Me, to whom I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee and rebuke thee, O thou afflicted and tossed with tempests and not comforted (Isa. 54:7-9, 11).
This is said of the church that is to be regenerated, and concerning its temptations, which are called the "waters of Noah."
 The Lord Himself also calls temptations an "inundation" in Luke:
Jesus said, Everyone that cometh unto Me, and heareth My sayings and doeth them is like unto a man building a house, who digged, and went deep, and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when an inundation came, the stream beat upon that house, but could not shake it, because it had been founded upon the rock (Luke 6:47-48).That temptations are here meant by an "inundation" must be evident to everyone. Desolations are also denoted in Isaiah:
The Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, the king of Asshur and all his glory; and he riseth up above all his channels, and shall go over all his banks: and he shall go through Judah; he shall inundate and go through; he shall reach even to the neck (Isa. 8:7-8).
"The king of Asshur" here stands for phantasies, principles of falsity, and the derivative reasonings, which desolate man, and which desolated the antediluvians.
 In Jeremiah:
Thus hath said Jehovah, Behold waters rise up out of the north, and shall become an inundating stream, and shall inundate the land and the fullness thereof, the city and them that dwell therein (Jer. 47:2-3).
This is said of the Philistines, who represent those who take up false principles, and reason from them concerning spiritual things, which reasonings inundate man, as they did the antediluvians. The reason why both temptations and desolations are compared in the Word to "floods" or "inundations" of waters, and are so called, is that they are similarly circumstanced; it being evil spirits who flow in with their persuasions and the false principles in which they are, and excite such things in man. With the man who is being regenerated, these are temptations; but with the man who is not being regenerated they are desolations. [AC705]
Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)