Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 5798

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5798. 'And do not let your anger burn against your servant' means lest he turn away. This is clear from the meaning of 'anger' as a turning away or aversion, dealt with in 5034; for one who is angry turns away. He does not think as the other person does; rather, in the state he is in, his thought is contrary to the other's. This meaning of 'anger' as a turning away is evident from many places in the Word, especially from those where anger or wrath, meaning a turning away, is attributed to Jehovah or the Lord. Not that Jehovah or the Lord ever turns away but that man does so; and when man turns away it appears to him as if the Lord does so since he is not heard. The Word speaks in keeping with the appearance. In addition, since 'anger' is a turning away, it is also a hostility towards what is good and true on the part of those who have turned away. On the part however of those who have not turned away 'anger' is not hostility but repugnance, because it is an aversion to what is evil and false.

[2] As regards 'anger' meaning hostility, this has been shown in 3614. It also means a turning away, and punishment too, when people are hostile towards what is good and true, as is evident from the following places: In Isaiah,

Woe to those decreeing decrees of iniquity. They will fall beneath the bound and beneath the slain; but in all this His anger will not be turned back. Woe to Asshur, the rod of My anger. Against a hypocritical nation I will send him, and against the people of [My] wrath I will command him. He does not think what is right and his heart does not consider what is right. Isa 10:1, 4-7.

'Anger' and 'wrath' stand for a turning away and hostility on man's side, a condition in which punishment and not being heard seem to him like anger. And as these exist on man's side, the words 'woe to those decreeing decrees of iniquity', 'he does not think what is right and his heart does not consider what is right' are used.

[3] In the same prophet,

Jehovah together with the vessels of His anger [comes] to destroy the whole land. Behold, the day of Jehovaha comes - cruel, with indignation, wrath, and anger - to make the earth a ruin, so that He may destroy its sinners from it. I will make heaven quake, and the earth will quake out of its place, at the wrath of Jehovah

Zebaoth and in the day of His fierce anger. Isa 13:5, 9, 13.

'Heaven' and 'the earth' here stand for the Church, which had turned away from truth and goodness. Because it had done this a description of the laying waste and destruction of it owing to the indignation, anger, and wrath of Jehovah appears here, though the truth of the matter is the complete opposite. That is to say, the person ruled by evil is the one who is filled with indignation, anger, and wrath, in addition to which he sets himself against what is good and true. The attribution to Jehovah of punishment which comes as a result of evil is due to the appearance. Various places elsewhere in the Word call the final period of the Church and its destruction 'the day of Jehovah's anger'.

[4] In the same prophet,

Jehovah has broken the rod of the wicked, the stick of those who have dominion. He will strike the peoples in a rage, with an incurable stroke, He who with anger rules the nations. Isa 14:5, 6.

Much the same applies here. It is like a criminal punished by the law; he attributes the evil of a punishment to the king or judge, not to himself. In the same prophet,

Jacob and Israel, because these were unwilling to walk in Jehovah's ways and did not hear His law, He poured out upon him the wrath of His anger, and the violence of battle. Isa 42:24, 25.

In Jeremiah,

I Myself will fight against you with outstretched hand and strong arm, and in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation. Lest My fury go forth like fire, and burn and fail to be quenched because of the wickedness of your works.

Here 'fury', 'anger', and 'great indignation' are nothing other than the evils of a punishment because of a turning away from and a hostility towards what is good and true.

[5] It is in origin a Divine law that all evil carries punishment with it; and surprising though it may be, in, the next life evil and punishment are inseparable. For as soon as a hellish spirit does anything exceptionally bad other spirits, ones who administer punishments, become present and punish him without their having been alerted bay anyone else. The fact that the evil of a punishment is caused by turning away is self-evident, for the expression 'because of the wickedness of your works' is used. In David,

He let loose on them the wrath of His anger, indignation, and rage, and distress, and a mission of evil angels He opened a way for His anger, He did not spare their soul from death. Ps 78:49, 50.
See also Isa 30:27, 30; 74:2; 47:3, 6; 54:8; 57:17; 63:6; 66:15; Jer 4:8; 7:20; 15:14; 33:5; Ezek 5:13, 17; Deut 9:11-19; 29:20-24; Rev 14:9, 10; 15:7.
In these places too 'wrath', 'anger', 'indignation', and 'rage' stand for a turning away, hostility, and consequent punishment.

[6] The reason why punishment due to a turning away and hostility is attributed to Jehovah or the Lord and is called anger, wrath, and rage residing with Him is that the nation descended from Jacob had to be confined solely to the external representatives of the Church. They could not be confined to these except through fear and dread of Jehovah and unless they had believed that in His anger and wrath He would do evil to them. People who are concerned solely with external things and nothing internal cannot be led in any other way to perform external observances, since no sense of obligation is present with them interiorly. This is also the situation with simple persons in the Church. The only idea they can grasp, based on the appearance, is that God is angry when someone does what is evil. Yet anyone may see, if he stops to reflect, that no anger at all, still less any rage, resides with Jehovah or the Lord, since He is mercy itself, is goodness itself, and is infinitely beyond wishing evil on anyone. Neither does a person possessing charity towards the neighbour do evil to anyone; and as this is true of every angel, how much more must it be true of the Lord Himself? But the situation in the next life is as follows: Because of the newcomers there the Lord is constantly reordering heaven and its communities, imparting bliss and happiness to them.

[7] But when that bliss and happiness passes into the communities opposite (for in the next life all the communities of heaven have communities opposite them in hell, which is what provides equilibrium) and those communities feel a change taking place from heaven's presence, they are filled with anger and wrath. They rush into doing evil and at the same time bring on themselves the evils of their punishment. Furthermore, when evil spirits or genii come near the light of heaven they start to experience pain and torment, 4225, 4226. This they attribute to heaven, and consequently to the Lord; but in actual fact they bring the torment on themselves since evil suffers torment whenever it comes near good. From all this it is evident that the Lord is the source of nothing but good and that all evil originates in those people themselves who turn away, stand in opposition, and attack. This arcanum enables one to see what the situation really is.


a The Latin means Jehovah but the Hebrew means the day of Jehovah, which Sw. has in other places where he quotes this verse.

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