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Beginning and End >> True and Right
A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny, signifies because the estimation of good and truth is so small as to be scarcely anything. These are signified because by "a measure" [choenix] which was the measure and the quantity measured, is signified quality, as above (n. 314); by "wheat" and "barley" is signified good and truth; and by a penny [denarius] which is a very small coin, that they are held in little or no estimation. It is said "three" measures of barley, because "three" signify all, and are predicated of truths (n. 515). The reason why "wheat" and "barley" signify good and truth, here the good and truth of the church from the Word, is, because all things which belong to the field and the vineyard, signify such things as are of the church, because "a field" signifies the church as to good and truth thence, and "a vineyard," the church as to truth and good therefrom; therefore where these are mentioned in the Word, the angels, who perceive all things spiritually, understand nothing else; as in Joel:
The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted; the must is dried up, the oil languisheth. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vine dressers, for the wheat and the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished (Joel 1:10-12).
 All these things signify such things as are of the church. That "wheat" and "barley" signify the good and truth of the church, may be seen from these passages:
John saith concerning Jesus, that He will gather the wheat into the barn, and burn up the chaff with fire (Matt. 3:11-12).
Jesus said, Let the tares and the wheat grow together, and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares to burn, but gather the wheat into My barn (Matt. 13:24-30).
I have heard the consummation and decision from Jehovah God; he layeth up the measured wheat, and the appointed barley; for his God doth instruct him to judgment, and doth teach him (Isa. 28:22, 25-26).
Jehovah shall lead thee to a land of wheat and barley (Deut. 8:7-8).
"A land of wheat and barley" here is the land of Canaan, by which the church is signified.
They shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of Jehovah, for wheat and must (Jer. 31:12).
Jehovah shall satiate thee with the fat of wheat (Deut. 32:13-14; Ps. 81:16; 147:14).
Jehovah said to the prophet Ezekiel that:
He should make himself cakes of barley mixed with dung, and eat them (Ezek. 4:12, 15).
And to the prophet Hosea that:
He should take a woman an adulteress; whom he bought for a homer of barley, and half a homer of barley (Hos. 3:1-2).
Which things were done by those prophets, that they might represent the falsifications of truth in the church, for "barley" signifies truths, and "barley mixed with dung" truths falsified and profaned; "a woman an adulteress" also signifies truth falsified (n. 134). [AR315]
And they were cast upon the earth, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, signifies that with those who are in the internals of the church and in faith alone, every affection and perception of truth, which make the man of the church, perished. By "the earth," upon which were cast "hail and fire mingled with blood," is signified the church with those who are in its internals, and in faith alone. That these are the clergy, may be seen above (n. 398). By "the third part" is signified all as to truth, as by "the fourth part," all as to good (n. 322). That by "three" is signified all, full, and altogether, will be seen below (n. 505); thence, by "a third," which is "a third part," the same is signified. By "being burnt up" is signified to perish, here by falsity from infernal love, which is meant by "hail and fire mingled with blood," see above (n. 399). By "a tree" is signified man; and as man is man from affection, which is of the will, and from perception, which is of the understanding, therefore these also are signified by "a tree." There is also a correspondence between man and a tree; wherefore in heaven there appear paradises of trees, which correspond to the affections and the perceptions therefrom of the angels; and, likewise, in some places in hell there are forests of trees which bear evil fruits, according to correspondence with the lusts and the thoughts therefrom of those who are there. That "trees" in general signify men as to their affections and perceptions therefrom, may appear from the following passages:
All the trees of the field shall know, that I Jehovah have brought down the high tree, I have exalted the low tree, I have dried up the green tree, and I have made the dry tree to shoot forth (Ezek. 17:24).
Happy is the man that trusteth in Jehovah, for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, he shall not cease from bearing fruit (Jer. 17:7-8).
Happy is the man whose good pleasure is in the law; he shall be like a tree planted by the brooks of waters, that giveth fruit in its season (Ps. 1:1-3).
Praise Jehovah, ye trees of fruit (Ps. 148:9).
The trees of Jehovah are full (Ps. 104:16).
The axe is laid at the root of the tree, every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down (Matt. 3:10; 7:16-20).
Either make the tree good and the fruit good; or make the tree corrupt and the fruit corrupt; for the tree is known from the fruit (Matt. 12:33; Luke 6:43-44).
I will kindle a fire which shall devour every green tree, and every dry tree (Ezek. 20:47).
Since a tree signifies man, therefore it was ordained that:
The fruit of a tree serving for food in the land of Canaan should be circumcised (Lev. 19:23-25).
When any city was besieged, they should not put forth an axe against any tree of good fruit (Deut. 20:19-20).
As also that:
At the feast of tabernacles they should take fruit of the tree of honor, and be glad before Jehovah (Lev. 23:40-41).
Besides other passages, which are not here adduced by reason of their abundance. [AR400]
And he set a way of three days between himself and Jacob. That this signifies that their state was altogether separated, is evident from the signification of "setting a way," as being to be separated; from the signification of "three," as being what is last, complete, or the end (see n. 1825, 2788), and thus altogether separated; and from the signification of "days," as being states (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2788, 3462). [AC 4010]
And it came to pass on the third day. That this signifies what is continuous even to the end, is evident from the signification of the "third day," as being what is complete from beginning to end (see n. 2788), thus also what is continuous. That this is the signification of the "third day," can scarcely be believed by those who regard the historicals of the Word as mere worldly histories, holy merely because they are in the sacred volume. But that not only the historicals of the Word themselves enfold within them spiritual and heavenly things which are not apparent in the letter, but that so also do all the words, and even all the numbers, has been shown in the preceding explications; that such is really the case will of the Lord's Divine mercy become still more evident in the prophetic parts, which do not keep the mind so closely engaged with the succession of statements in the sense of the letter as do the historical parts. But that the number "three," also the number "seven," and the number "twelve," enfold deep secrets within them, must be evident to everyone who examines the Word in regard to its interiors; and if these numbers are so full of significance, it follows that there must be something deeply hidden in all the other numbers that occur in the Word, for the Word is holy throughout.
 Sometimes when speaking with angels, as it were written numbers appeared before my eyes like those seen on paper in bright day, and I perceived that the very things they were speaking of fell into such numbers; and from this experience I learned that every number mentioned in the Word holds within it some mystery, as is very evident from the following passages:
He 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).
He that hath intelligence let him 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).
That the number first mentioned-"144"-results from the multiplication of twelve into itself, and that the number "666" is a product of three and six, is manifest, but what holy thing they enfold within them may appear from the holiness of the number "twelve" (see n. 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3858, 3913), and of the number "three" (n. 720, 901, 1825, 2788, 4010).
 This latter number-"three"-being significative of what is complete even to the end, thus of one period, great or small, was received in the representative church, and was employed whenever such a thing was signified; and also in the Word (in which all things have a signification both in general and in particular) as may be seen from the following instances:
That they should go three days' journey and should sacrifice (Exod. 3:18; 5:3).
That they should be ready against the third day, because on the third day Jehovah would come down upon Mount Sinai (Exod. 19:11, 15-16, 18).
That nothing should be left of the flesh of the sacrifice until the third day (Lev. 7:16-18; 19:6-7).
That the water of separation should be sprinkled upon the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day (Num. 19:11-22).
That they who touched one slain in war should be purified on the third day and on the seventh day (Num. 31:19-25).
That Joshua commanded the people to pass over Jordan within three days (Josh. 1:11; 3:2).
That Jehovah called Samuel three times, and Samuel ran to Eli three times, and Eli understood the third time that Jehovah had called Samuel (1 Sam. 3:1-8).
That Jonathan said to David that he should hide himself in the field unto the third day at even, and that Jonathan sent to him on the third morrow, and revealed the disposition of his father; and that Jonathan then shot three arrows at the side of the stone; and that after this David bowed himself three times to the earth before Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:5, 12, 19,20, 35,36, 41).
That three things were offered to David to chose from: that there should come seven years of famine, that he should flee three months before his enemies, or that there should be three days' pestilence in the land (2 Sam. 24:11-13).
That Rehoboam said to the congregation of Israel who sought to be relieved from the yoke of his father, that they should go away three days, and come again; and that they came to Rehoboam the third day, as the King bade, saying, Come to me again the third day (1 Kings 12:5, 12).
That Elijah stretched himself upon the widow's son three times (1 Kings 17:21).
That Elijah told the people to pour water upon the burnt-offering and the wood the third time, and they did it the third time (1 Kings 18:34).
That Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17; Matt. 12:40).
That the Lord spoke of a man who planted a vineyard and sent his servants three times, and afterwards his son (Mark 12:2, 4-6; Luke 20:12-13).
That He said of Peter that he should deny Him thrice (Matt. 26:34; John 13:38).
That He said to Peter three times, Lovest thou Me? (John 21:15-17).
From these and many other places in the Word it may be seen that there was some mystery in the number "three," and that therefore this number was received among the significatives in the ancient churches. That it signifies an entire period of the church and of the things in the church, whether great or small, is manifest; and that it consequently signifies what is complete and also continuous to the end, is very plain in Hosea:
Jehovah will vivify us after two days; on the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live before Him (Hos. 6:2). [AC 4495]
On the third day. That this signifies completeness, and the beginning of sanctification, is evident from the signification of the "third day." "Day" in the Word signifies state (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893); as also does "year," and in general all periods of time; as an "hour," a "day," a "week," a "month," a "year," an "age;" as also "morning," "noon," "evening," and "night;" and "spring," "summer," "autumn," and "winter;" and when "third" is added to these, they signify the end of that state, and at the same time the beginning of the following state. As the Lord's sanctification is here treated of, which was effected by temptations, the "third day" signifies completeness, and at the same time the beginning of sanctification, as also follows from what has been already said. The reason of this signification is that when the Lord had fulfilled all things He would rise again on the third day; for the things that were done, or that would be done by the Lord when He lived in the world, were in the representatives of the church as if already done (as also they were in the internal sense of the Word); for in God to be and to become are the same; indeed all eternity is present to Him.
 Hence the number "three" was representative, not only in the Ancient Church and in the Jewish, but also among various nations. (See what is said concerning this number above, n. 720, 901, 1825.) That this was the origin of the signification of "three," is evident in Hosea:
Let us return unto Jehovah, for He hath wounded, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up; after two days He will revive us, on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him (Hos. 6:1-2);
where the "third day" denotes the Lord's coming, and His resurrection. And from Jonah, that he "was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights" (Jonah 1:17); concerning which the Lord thus speaks in Matthew:
As Jonah was in the whale's belly three days and three nights, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:40).
 Be it known that in the internal sense of the Word "three days" and the "third day" signify the same, as also do "three" and "third" in the passages which now follow. In John:
Jesus said to the Jews, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. He spake of the temple of His body (John 2:19-21; Matt. 26:61; Mark 14:58; 15:29).
 That the Lord rose again on the third day is known. For the same reason the Lord distinguished the periods of His life into three, as stated in Luke:
Go ye and tell that fox, Behold I cast out demons, and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I am perfected (Luke 13:32).
His last temptation also, that of the cross, the Lord endured at the "third hour" of the day (Mark 15:25); and after three hours there came darkness over the whole land, or at the "sixth hour" (Luke 23:44); and after three hours, or at the "ninth hour," the end (Mark 15:33-34, 37). But on the morning of the "third day" He rose again (Mark 16:1-4; Luke 24:7); (see Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:18-19; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34; Luke 18:33; 24:46). From all this, and especially from the Lord's resurrection on the third day, the number "three" was representative and significative, as may be seen from the following passages in the Word:
When Jehovah came down upon Mount Sinai, He told Moses to sanctify the people today and tomorrow, and that they should wash their garments, and be ready against the third day, for on the third day Jehovah would descend (Exod. 19:10-11, 15-16).
When they set forth from the mount of Jehovah on a journey of three days, the ark of Jehovah went before them a three days' journey to seek out a resting place for them (Num. 10:33).
There was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days, and they saw not one another for three days, but the sons of Israel had light (Exod. 10:22-23).
 The flesh of the sacrifice of a vow, or of a freewill-offering, was to be eaten on the first and second day; nothing was to be left to the third day, but the remainder was to be burnt, because it was an abomination.
So too with the flesh of the peace-offering; and if it should be eaten on the third day it would not propitiate, but the soul should carry its iniquity (Lev. 7:16-18; 19:6-7).
He that touched one dead was to purify himself on the third day, and on the seventh day he should be clean; otherwise that soul should be cut off from Israel and one that was clean should sprinkle water upon him that was unclean on the third day and on the seventh day (Num. 19:12-13, 19).
They who slew a person in battle, or touched one that was slain, were to purify themselves on the third day, and on the seventh day (Num. 31:19).
 When they came into the land of Canaan the fruit was to be uncircumcised three years, and was not to be eaten (Lev. 19:23).
At the end of three years they were to bring all the tithes of their increase in that year and lay it up in their gates, that the Levite, the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow might eat (Deut. 14:28-29; 24:12).
Three times in the year they were to keep a feast to Jehovah, and three times in the year every male was to appear before the face of the Lord Jehovih (Exod. 23:14, 17; Deut. 16:16).
Joshua told the people that in three days they should pass over the Jordan and inherit the land (Josh. 1:11; 3:2).
 Jehovah called to Samuel three times, and he answered the third time (1 Sam. 3:8).
When Saul wished to kill David, David hid himself in the field till the third evening. Jonathan said to David that he would sound his father on the third day. Jonathan shot three arrows by the side of the stone, and David then fell upon his face to the earth before Jonathan and bowed himself down three times (1 Sam. 20:5, 12, 19-20, 30, 36, 41).
David was to choose one of three things: seven years of famine in the land; or that he should flee before his enemies three months; or a pestilence in the land three days (2 Sam. 24:12-13).
 There was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year (2 Sam. 21:1).
Elijah stretched himself upon the dead child three times and brought him to life (1 Kings 17:21).
When Elijah had built the altar to Jehovah, he told them to pour water upon the burnt offering and upon the wood three times (1 Kings 18:34).
The fire twice consumed the commanders over fifty, sent to Elijah, but not him that was sent the third time (2 Kings 1:13).
It was a sign to king Hezekiah that they should eat that year what sprung up spontaneously, in the second year the aftergrowth, but in the third year they should sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them (2 Kings 19:29).
 Daniel entered into his house and had the windows open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, and here three times a day he blessed upon his knees and prayed (Dan. 6:11, 14).
Daniel mourned three weeks of days, eating no pleasant bread, nor drinking wine, nor anointing himself, until the three weeks of days were fulfilled (Dan. 10:2-3).
Isaiah went naked and barefoot three years, for a sign and a wonder upon Egypt and upon Cush (Isa. 20:3).
Out of the candlestick went forth three branches on each side, and three almond-shaped cups on each branch (Exod. 25:32-33).
In the Urim and Thummim there were three precious stones in each row (Exod. 28:17-19).
 In the new temple there were to be three chambers of the gate on this side and three on that side, and they three should have one measure; at the porch of the house the breadth of the gate should be three cubits on this side and three cubits on that side (Ezek. 40:10, 21, 48).
In the new Jerusalem there were to be three gates to the north, three to the east, three to the south, and three to the west (Ezek. 48:31-34; Rev. 21:13).
So in the following passages:
Peter denied Jesus thrice (Matt. 26:34, 69 and following verses).
The Lord said to Peter three times, "Lovest thou Me?" (John 21:17).
Also in the parable, the man who planted the vineyard sent servants three times, and at length his son (Luke 20:12; Mark 12:2, 4-6).
They who labored in the vineyard were hired at the third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour, and the eleventh hour (Matt. 20:1-17).
Because the fig tree did not bear fruit for three years, it was to be cut down (Luke 13:6, 7).
 As a trine and a third were representative, so also was a third part; as that in the meat offering of fine flour two tenths were mixed with a third part of a hin of oil and the wine for a libation was a third part of a hin (Num. 15:6, 7; Ezek. 46:14).
The prophet Ezekiel was to pass a razor upon his head, and upon his beard, and then divide the hair and burn a third part in the fire, and smite a third with the sword, about it [the city], and scatter a third to the wind (Ezek. 5:1-2, 11).
In the whole land, two parts were to be cut off and the third was to be left; but the third was to be brought through the fire and proved (Zech. 13:8-9).
 When the first angel sounded there came hail and fire mingled with blood, and it fell upon the earth so that a third part of the trees were burnt up. The second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea, and a third part of the sea became blood; because of which a third part of the creatures in the sea having souls, died, and a third part of the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven burning like a lamp, and it fell upon a third part of the rivers; the name of the star was Wormwood. The fourth angel sounded, and a third part of the sun was smitten, and a third part of the moon, and a third part of the stars, so that a third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night in like manner (Rev. 8:7-12).
 The four angels were loosed to kill a third part of men (Rev. 9:15).
By these three were the third part of men killed, by the fire, and the smoke, and the brimstone, which proceeded out of the mouth of the horses (Rev. 9:18).
The dragon drew with his tail a third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth (Rev. 12:4).
A "third part," however, signifies some, and what is not yet complete; but the "third," and a "trine," what is complete; and this, of evil to the evil, and of good to the good. [AC2788]
That the "seven and twentieth day" signifies what is holy, is evident from what has just been said, since it is composed of three multiplied by itself twice. Three multiplied by itself is nine, and nine multiplied again by three is twenty-seven. In "twenty-seven" therefore three is the ruling number. Thus did the most ancient people compute their numbers, and understood by them nothing but actual things [res]. That "three" has the same signification as "seven" is evident from what has been just said. There is a hidden reason why the Lord rose on the third day. The Lord's resurrection itself involves all holiness, and the resurrection of all, and therefore in the Jewish Church this number became representative, and in the Word is holy; just as it is in heaven, where no numbers are thought of, but instead of "three" and "seven" they have a general holy idea of the resurrection and of the coming of the Lord.
 That "three" and "seven" signify what is holy, is evident from the following passages in the Word. In Moses:
He that toucheth the dead shall be unclean seven days; the same shall expiate himself therefrom on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean; but if he expiate not himself on the third day, on the seventh day he shall not be clean. He that toucheth one slain with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days; the clean shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall expiate him, and he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even (Num. 19:11-12, 16, 19).
That these things are representative, or that the outward things signify internal ones, is very evident, as that one would be unclean who had touched a dead body, one slain, a bone of a man, a grave. All these things signify in the internal sense things proper to man, which are dead and profane. So also the washing in water and being clean at even were representative, and also the third day and the seventh day, which signify what is holy because on those days he was to be purified and would thus be clean.
 In like manner concerning those who returned from battle against the Midianites:
Encamp ye without the camp seven days; whosoever hath slain a soul, and whosoever hath touched one slain, ye shall expiate yourselves on the third day and on the seventh day (Num. 31:19).If this were but a ritual, and the third day and the seventh were not representative and significative of holiness, or of expiation, it would be a dead thing, like that which is without a cause, and like a cause without an end, or like a thing separated from its cause, and this cause from its end, and thus in no way Divine. That the "third day" was representative, and thus significative, of what is holy, is very evident from the coming of the Lord upon Mount Sinai, for which it was thus commanded:
And Jehovah said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, and be ready against the third day; for on the third day Jehovah will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai (Exod. 19:10-11, 14-15).
 For a similar reason Joshua crossed the Jordan on the third day:
Joshua commanded, Pass through the midst of the camp, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals, for within three days ye are to pass over this Jordan, to go in to inherit the land (Josh. 1:11; 3:2).
The crossing of the Jordan represented the introduction of the sons of Israel, that is, of those who are regenerate, into the kingdom of the Lord; Joshua, who led them in, represented the Lord; and this was done on the third day. Because the third day was holy, as was the seventh, it was ordained that the year of tithes should be the third year, and that then the people should show themselves holy by works of charity (Deut. 26:12-15); the "tithes" represented remains, which because they are of the Lord alone, are holy. That Jonah was three days and three nights in the bowels of the fish (Jonah 1:17) manifestly represented the burial and resurrection of the Lord on the third day (Matt. 12:40).
 That "three" signifies that holy thing is evident also in the Prophets, as in Hosea:
After two days will Jehovah revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him (Hos. 6:2),where also the "third day" plainly denotes the coming of the Lord and His resurrection. In Zechariah:
It shall come to pass that in all the land two parts therein shall be cut off and expire, but the third shall be left therein, and I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried (Zech. 13:8-9),
where the "third part" like "three" denotes what is holy. The same is involved by the third part as by three, and also by the third part of the third part, as in the present passage, for three is the third of the third of twenty-seven. [AC901]
That "three years old" involves all things of the church as to times and states, is evident from the signification of "three" in the Word. By "three" is signified the full time of the church, from its origin even to its end, and thus all its state. The last time of the church is therefore signified by the third day, the third week, the third month, the third year and the third age, which are all the same. As the state of the church is signified by the number three, so also is the state of everyone who is a church, and everything which is of the church, as may be seen from the signification of this number in the passages adduced from the Word (n. 720, 901).
 That "a heifer of three years" thus signifies the time or state of the church even to the last, that is, when it has been vastated or made desolate, may also be seen in Isaiah:
My heart crieth out upon Moab; her fugitives are unto Zoar, a heifer of three years old; for by the ascent of Luhith, with weeping he shall go up in it; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of breaking to pieces (Isa. 15:5).
Also in Jeremiah:
Gladness and exultation are gathered from Carmel, and from the land of Moab; and I will make* wine to cease from the winepresses; none shall tread with shouting; the shouting shall be no shouting. From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, even unto Jahaz have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even unto** Horonaim, a heifer of three years old; for the waters of Nimrim also shall become desolations (Jer. 48:33-34).
No one could possibly perceive what these things mean unless he knew what is signified by "Moab," by "Zoar," "the ascent of Luhith," "the cry of Heshbon unto Elealeh," by "Jahaz," by "Horonaim," "the waters of Nimrim," and by "a heifer three years old." That this is an uttermost vastation is plain. [AC1825]
* Cessare faciam; but elsewhere feci, as Apocalypse Explained 376. [Rotch ed.]
** Latin here has a, doubtless a misprint for ad, as in n. 9391. [Ibid.]
In yet three days. That this signifies that there would then be a new state, is evident from the signification of "three," as being what is continuous even to the end, thus what is complete (n. 2788, 4495); and from the signification of "days," as being states (of which above, n. 5122). From this it is plain that by "three days" is signified a complete state; consequently, "in three days," or "after three days," denotes a new state (n. 4091); for after a complete state a new one begins. [AC 5123]
And it came to pass about three months after. That this signifies a new state, is evident from the signification of "three" as being what is complete, and hence the last and the first together, or the end and the beginning together (see n. 1825, 2788, 4495); and from the signification of "month" as being state (n. 3814). For in the internal sense all periods of time signify states, as hour, day, week, month, year, age; and also the lesser divisions of time, as noon, evening, night, and morning, which are times of the day; and as summer, autumn, winter, and spring, which are times of the year; and also the several periods of life, as infancy and childhood, youth, adult age, and old age; all of which times, with others, signify states. What states are may be seen above (n. 4850).
 That times signify states is because times do not exist in the other life. The progression of the life of spirits and angels indeed appears as in time; but they have no thought from times, as men in the world have; their thought is from states of the life, and this without notion of times. The reason of this is that the progressions of their life are not distinguished into different ages, for there they do not grow old, and there are no days or years, because their sun, which is the Lord, is always rising and never sets. Hence no notion of time enters their thoughts, but only a notion of state and its progressions - notions being taken from the things that are and exist before the senses.
 These things must needs seem paradoxical, but only for the reason that man in every idea of his thought has somewhat adjoined from time and space. From this source are his memory and recollection, and also his lower thought, the ideas of which are called material. But that memory out of which comes such ideas is quiescent in the other life. They who are in that life are in interior memory, and in the ideas of its thought; and thought from this latter memory has not times and spaces adjoined to it, but states and their progressions instead. Hence also it is that they correspond, and in consequence of such correspondence times in the Word signify states. (That man has an exterior memory which is proper to him in the body, and also an interior memory which is proper to his spirit, may be seen above, n. 2469-2494.)
 That by "about three months after" is signified a new state, is because by "months," into which also times in the world are distinguished, is signified state, and by "three" is signified the last and the first together, or the end and the beginning together, as said above. Because in the spiritual world there is a continual progression of states from one into another, and consequently in the last or end of every state there is a first or beginning, hence what is continuous, therefore by the words "about three months after" is signified a new state. It is similar also in the church, which is the spiritual world or the Lord's kingdom on earth, the last of the church with one nation being always the first of the church with another. As the last is thus continued into the first, it is several times said of the Lord that He is the Last and the First (as in Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; Rev. 21:6; 22:13); and thereby in the relative sense is signified what is perpetual, and in the supreme sense what is eternal. [AC4901]
The altar shall be foursquare. That this signifies thus what is righteous, is evident from the signification of "foursquare," as being what is righteous (of which in what follows); and from the signification of "the altar," as being a representative of the Lord, and of the worship of Him. Consequently by "the altar being foursquare" is signified what is righteous in the Lord, and consequently in worship. Worship is said to be "righteous" when the good and truth which are in it are from the Lord, and not from man; for what is righteous is from the Lord alone (see n. 9263). That "foursquare" denotes what is righteous, originates in the representatives in the other life. There, goods are presented as round, and the goods of the external man, which are called "righteous," are presented as foursquare; but truths and rights are presented as linear and triangular. From this then it is that by "foursquare" is signified what is righteous, as also by "the altar of incense being foursquare" (Exod. 30:2), and by "the breastplate of judgment being a doubled square" (Exod. 28:16), and likewise by "the New Jerusalem being foursquare" (Rev. 21:16). The "New Jerusalem" here denotes the New Church of the Lord which is to succeed our present church; the external good of it, which is what is righteous, is signified by its being "foursquare." [AC9717]
Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)