Spiritual Meaning of

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In the Word frequent mention is made of light, and by this in the internal sense is signified the truth which is from good but in the supreme internal sense there is signified the Lord Himself, because He is good and truth itself. Moreover there actually is light in heaven, but infinitely brighter than the light on earth (AC 1053, 1117, 1521-1533, 1619-1632); and in this light spirits and angels see one another, and by means of it is displayed all the glory which is in heaven. In regard to its lucidity, this light does indeed appear like the light in the world; but still it is not like it, for it is not natural, but spiritual, having in it wisdom; so that it is nothing else than wisdom which so shines before the eyes of the angels; and therefore the wiser the angels are, the brighter is the light in which they are (AC 2776). Moreover this light illumines the understanding of man, especially that of a regenerate man; but it is not perceived by man so long as he is in the life of the body, because of the light of the world, which then is regnant. Moreover the evil spirits in the other life see one another, and also see many representatives which exist in the world of spirits, and this indeed they do from the light of heaven; but their lumen is such as proceeds from a fire of coals, for the light of heaven is changed into such a lumen when it comes to them.

[3] As regards the very origin of light, this has been from eternity from the Lord alone; for Divine good itself and Divine truth, from which light comes, is the Lord. The Divine Human, which was from eternity (John 17:5), was this light itself. And whereas this light could no longer affect the human race, which had removed itself so far from good and truth, thus from light, and had cast itself into darkness, therefore the Lord willed to put on by birth the human itself; for thus He could illumine not only the rational but also the natural things of man; for He made both the rational and the natural in Himself Divine, in order that He might also he a light to those who were in such gross darkness.

[4] That the Lord is light, that is, good itself and truth itself, and that thus from Him is all intelligence and wisdom, consequently all salvation, is evident from many passages in the Word, as in John:--

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word; in Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John came to bear witness of the light; he was not that light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. That was the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:1, 4, 7-9).

The Word was the Divine truth, thus the Lord Himself as to the Divine Human, concerning which it is said that that Word was with God, and God was the Word.

[5] In the same Evangelist:--

This is the judgment, that light is come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19)

where light denotes the Divine truth. Again:--

Jesus said, I am the light of the world he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).


Yet a little while is the light with you walk while ye have the light, lest darkness seize upon you; while ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be sons of light (John 12:35, 36).


He that seeth Me seeth Him that sent me I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me may not abide in the darkness (John 12:46, 46).

In Luke:--

Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel (Luke 2:30-32).

This is the prophecy of Simeon concerning the Lord when He' was born.

[6] In Matthew:--

The people that sat in darkness saw a great light, and to them that sat in the region and shadow of death, did light spring up (Matthew 4:16; Isa. 9:2);

from which passages it is very plain that the Lord as to the Divine good and truth in the Divine Human, is called light. Also in the prophecies of the Old Testament, as in Isaiah:--

The light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame (Isa. 10:17).


I Jehovah have called thee in righteousness, and I will give thee for a Covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles (Isa. 42:6).


I have given thee for a light of the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation, unto the end of the earth (Isa. 49:6).


Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee. The Gentiles shall walk to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising (Isa. 60:1, 3).

[7] That all the light of heaven, consequently wisdom and intelligence, is from the Lord, is thus taught in John:--

The holy city New Jerusalem, descending from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it the glory of God will enlighten it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof (Rev. 21:2, 23).

Again, speaking of the same:--

There shall be no night there, and they need no lamp, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light (Rev. 22:5).

[8] Again in Isaiah:--

The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee but Jehovah shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself, for Jehovah shall be thine everlasting light (Isaiah 60:19, 20).

The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee, denotes that this will be the case with the things not of natural, but of spiritual light, which is signified by Jehovah being an everlasting light. That Jehovah," as mentioned here and elsewhere in the Old Testament, is the Lord, may be seen above (AC 1343, 1736, 2156, 2329, 2921, 3023, 3035).

[9] And that He is the light of heaven He also manifested to the three disciples, Peter, James, and John, at His transfiguration, when His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment became as the light (Matt. 17:2). His face as the sun was the Divine good; His raiment as the light was the Divine truth. Hence it may be known what is meant by the expression in the benediction:--

Jehovah make His faces shine upon thee, and be merciful unto thee (Num. 6:25)

that the faces of Jehovah are mercy, peace, and good, may be seen above (AC 222, 223); and that the sun is the Divine love; thus that it is the Divine love of the Lord which appears as a sun in the heaven of angels, may also be seen above (AC 30-38, 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 2441, 2495).

from AC 3195

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info