Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 5354

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5354. 'And the name of the second he called Ephraim' means a new area of understanding within the natural, and the essential nature of it. This is clear from the meaning of 'the name' and 'calling the name' as the essential nature, dealt with in 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009, 2724, 3006, 3421; and from the representation of 'Ephraim' as the area of understanding within the natural, dealt with below. What the new area of understanding and what the new area of will are, meant by 'Ephraim and Manasseh', must be stated first. It is indeed well known in the Church that a person must be born again, that is, be regenerated, so that he may enter the kingdom of God. This is well known because the Lord has declared it quite explicitly in John 3:3, 5; yet What being born again implies is still known to only a few. And the reason for this is that few know what good and evil are. The reason people do not know what good and evil are is that they do not know what charity towards the neighbour is. If they did know what this was they would also know what good was, and from good what evil was; for everything is good that springs out of genuine charity towards the neighbour.

[2] But with no one can this good have its origin in the person himself, for it is something utterly heavenly flowing into him from the Lord. This heavenly good is flowing in constantly, but evils and falsities stand in the way and prevent the reception of it. So that it may be received therefore it is necessary for the person to remove the evils and, so far as he possibly can do so, the falsities too, and thereby bring himself into a condition to receive that good flowing in. When, after evils have been removed, he accepts the inflow of good he acquires a new will and a new understanding. The new will enables him to feel a sense of delight in doing good to his neighbour without any selfish end in view, and the new understanding enables him to take delight in learning what goodness and truth are for their own sakes and for the sake of the life he should lead. Because this new understanding and new will are brought into being by what flows in from the Lord, the person who has been regenerated therefore acknowledges and believes that the goodness and truth for which he feels an affection do not originate in himself but in the Lord, and also that what does originate in himself or is properly his own is nothing but evil.

[3] From all this one may see what is meant by being born again, and also what is meant by a new will and a new understanding. But regeneration, which brings the new will and the new understanding into being, does not take place in a single instant. Rather, it is taking place from earliest childhood through to the final phase of life, and after that for ever in the next life; and it is accomplished by Divine means that are countless and beyond description. In himself the human being is nothing but evil which is constantly radiating from him as if from a furnace and is constantly trying to smother good while it is still being born. The removal of that kind of evil and the firm implantation of good in its place cannot be effected except through the whole course of a person's life; nor can it be effected except by Divine means which are countless and beyond description. At the present time scarcely anything is known about these means, for the reason that people do not allow themselves to be regenerated. Nor do they believe that regeneration is anything, because they do not believe in a life after death. The process by which regeneration takes place, a process involving things beyond description, constitutes the major part of angelic wisdom; and that process is of such a nature that no angel can ever completely exhaust all there is to know about it. This is the reason why in the internal sense of the Word it is the chief matter that is dealt with.

[4] It is evident from very many places in the Word that 'Ephraim' means a new understanding within the natural, above all in the prophet Hosea, who makes many references to Ephraim, the following among them,

I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me, that you have altogether committed whoredom, O Ephraim; Israel has been defiled. Israel and Ephraim will collapse through their iniquity; Judah also will collapse with them. Ephraim will become a lonely place on the day of reproach.a And I will be like a moth to Ephraim, and like a worm to the house of Joseph. And Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound; and Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb, and he could not cure you. Hosea 9:3, 5, 9, 11-13.

After this in the same prophet,

When I healed Israel the iniquity of Ephraim was revealed, and the evils of Samaria; for they practised a lie, and a thief came, a band spread itself outside. And Ephraim was like a silly dove with no heart; they called on Egypt, they went away to Assyria. When they go I will stretch My net over them. Hosea 7:1, 11, 12
and following verses.

[5] And further on in the same prophet,

Israel has been swallowed up, now they are going to be among the gentiles, like a vessel in which there is no desire. When they went up to Assyria [they were like] a wild ass alone by himself; Ephraim procures loversb with a prostitute's hire. Hosea 8:8, 9.
Israel will not dwell in Jehovah's land, but Ephraim will return to Egypt, and in Assyria they will eat what is unclean. Hosea 9:3.
Ephraim has encompassed Me with a lie, and the house of Israel with deceit; and Judah will have dominion still with God and with the saints of the Faithful One.c Ephraim feeds the wind, and pursues the east wind. All the day long he multiplies lies and devastation and they make a covenant with the Assyrian, and oil is carried down into Egypt. Hosea 11:11; 12:1.

[6] Ephraim is referred to by this prophet in many other places besides these, such as Hosea 4:16-18; 5:3, 5, 9, 11-13; 7:8, 9; 9:8, 11, 13, 16; 10:6, 11; 11:3, 8, 9; 12:8, 14; 13:1, 12; 14:8. In all these places 'Ephraim' is used to mean the area of understanding within the Church, Israel' the spiritual area within it, and 'Judah' the celestial area. Also, since the area of understanding within the Church is meant by 'Ephraim', frequent reference is therefore made to Ephraim going away into Egypt or into Assyria. This is because 'Egypt' means factual knowledge and 'Assyria' reasonings based on this; and factual knowledge and reasonings are things associated with the understanding. For the meaning of Egypt' as factual knowledge, see 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, 2588, 3325, 4749, 4964, 4966; and for that of 'Asshur' or 'Assyria' as reason or reasoning, 119, 1186.

[7] The understanding area of the Church is meant in a similar way by 'Ephraim' in the following places: In Zechariah,

Exult greatly, O daughter of Zion! Make a noise, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king comes to you. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and I will cut off the battle bow; on the other hand he will speak peace to the nations. And his dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. I will bend Judah for Me, I will fill Ephraim with the bow; and I will rouse your sons, O Zion, together with your sons, O Javan. Zech 9:9, 10, 13.

This refers to the Lord's Coming, also to the Church among the gentiles. 'Cutting off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem' stands for the entire understanding which the Church possesses. 'Filling Ephraim with the bow' stands for imparting a new understanding. For 'the chariot' means doctrinal teaching, see 5321;'the horse' means the power of understanding, 2760-2762, 3217, 5321; and 'the bow' too means doctrinal teaching, 2685, 2686, 2709. Doctrinal teaching is dependent on the power of understanding, for to the extent that a person understands it, he believes it; his understanding of doctrinal teaching determines what his faith is like.

[8] For this reason the children of Ephraim are called 'archers' in David,

The children of Ephraim who were armed (they were archers) turned back on the day of battle. Ps 78:9.

In Ezekiel,

Son of man, take a stick and write on it, For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions. Then take another stick and write on it, Joseph's - the stick of Ephraim and of the whole house of Israel, his companions. After that join them together, one to the other into one stick for you, that both may be one in yourd hand. Behold, I am about to take the stick of Joseph which is in the hands of Ephraim and of the tribes of Israel his companions, and I will add them who are on it to the stick of Judah, and will make them into one stick, that they may be one stick in My hand. Ezek 37:16, 17, 19.

Here also 'Judah' is used to mean the celestial area within the Church, 'Israel' the spiritual area within it, and 'Ephraim' the understanding area. The idea that these will be made one through the good of charity is meant by the promise that one stick will be made out of two. For 'a stick' means good which is the good of charity and of works motivated by charity, see 1110, 2784, 2812, 3720, 4943.

[9] In Jeremiah,

It is a day [when] the watchmen will cry from mount Ephraim, Arise, let us go up to Zion, to Jehovah our God. I will be a father to Israel, and Ephraim will be My firstborn. Jer 31:6, 9.

In the same prophet,

I have surely heard Ephraim bewailing, You have chastised me and I was chastised, like an unruly calf. Direct me, that I may be directed. Is not Ephraim a precious son to Me? Is he not a delightful child? For after I have spoken against him I will surely remember him again. Jer 31:18, 20.

In the same prophet,

I will bring back Israel to his own habitation so that he may feed on Carmel and Bashan; and on mount Ephraim and in Gilead his soul will be satisfied. Jer 50:19

In Isaiah,

Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, to the falling flower and the glory of its beauty, which is on the head of a valley of fat ones confused by wine. Isa 28:1.

[10] In all these places too 'Ephraim' means the area of understanding within the Church. The area of understanding within the Church is that understanding which members of the Church have about truth and goodness, that is, about matters of doctrine regarding faith and charity. Thus it is the notions, conceptions, or ideas which they possess about these matters. Truth forms the spiritual area of the Church, and good the celestial area. But one member's understanding of truth and goodness is different from another's, and therefore the nature of each member's understanding of truth determines the kind of truth known to him. And the same is so with each person's understanding of goodness.

[11] What the Church's area of will, meant by 'Manasseh', is exactly can be recognized from the area of understanding, which is 'Ephraim'. The nature of the Church's will is similar to that of its understanding in that it varies from one member to another. 'Manasseh' means that area of will in Isaiah,

Through the wrath of Jehovah Zebaoth the earth has been darkened, and the people have become as fuel for the fire; a man will not spare his brother. A man will eat the flesh of his own arm; Manasseh [will consume] Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and together they are against Judah.

'A man will eat the flesh of his own arm, Manasseh [will consume] Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh' stands for the member of the Church when his will acts in opposition to the activity of his understanding, and his understanding acts in opposition to the activity of his will.

[12] In David,

God has spoken by means of His holiness, I will exalt, I will divide up Shechem and portion out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; and Ephraim is the strength of My head. Ps 60:6, 7.

In the same author,

Turn Your ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who leade Joseph like a flock; You who are seated upon the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up Your power. Ps 80:1, 2.

Here also 'Ephraim' stands for the area of understanding within the Church and 'Manasseh' for the area of will there. The same meaning is also evident from the blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh by Jacob before he died, and in addition from the fact that Jacob accepted Ephraim in place of Reuben, and Manasseh in place of Simeon, Gen 48:3, 5. For Reuben had represented the Church's area of understanding, which is faith in the understanding, or doctrine, 3861, 3866. Also, Simeon had represented faith in action - or obedience and the will to put truth into practice - from which charity springs and through which charity expresses itself; thus he represented truth realized in action, which is good belonging to the new will, 3869-3872.

[13] The reason why Jacob, who by then was Israel, blessed Ephraim more fully than Manasseh, by placing his right hand on the former and his left on the latter, Gen 48:13-20, was the same as the one involved in Jacob's procurement for himself of Esau's birthright. It was also the same as what was involved in the birth of Perez and Zerah, Judah's sons by Tamar; though he was the firstborn, Zerah nevertheless came out after Perez, Gen 38:18-30. The reason this happened was that the truth of faith, which belongs to the understanding, seems to occupy the first place while a person is being regenerated, and the good of charity, which belongs to the will, seems to occupy the second. But in actual fact good occupies the first place, as is plain to see once the person has been regenerated. On this subject, see 3314, 3539, 3548, 3556, 3563, 3570, 3576, 3603, 3701, 4243, 4244, 4247, 4337, 4925, 4926.


a Reading correptionis (reproach), which Sw. has in another place, for correctionis (correction)
b lit. loves
c The Latin means Israel, but the Hebrew means the Faithful One.
d The Latin means My, but the Hebrew means your.
e The Latin means He who leads, but the Hebrew means You who lead.

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