Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 6333

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The statements made in this chapter by Jacob show plainly that the Word has a meaning in it which is different from that seen in the letter. For in verse 1 Jacob, who by now is Israel, says that he will tell what will happen to his sons at the end of days; yet nothing of what he tells and foretells in fact happened to them. He says for example that the descendants of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, who are the subject in verses 3-7, will be cursed more than the rest, and that Simeon and Levi will be divided in Jacob and scattered in Israel. Yet the opposite happened to Levi - he was blessed, for the priesthood was invested in him.

[2] Nor did what is said about Judah happen to that tribe, apart from the fact [implied in verse to] that the representative of the Church remained longer with it than with the rest. And in addition to that, things are stated about it, the nature of which no one can know except from the different meaning concealed inwardly, such as the statements in verses 9, 11, 12, that he crouched and lay down like a lion; bound his young ass to the vine, the foal of his she-ass to an outstanding vine; washed his clothing in wine, his garment in the blood of grapes; or the statement that his eyes were red from wine, and his teeth white from milk. All these statements are of such a nature that anyone may see that they hold something which is well known in heaven but cannot become plain to man except from heaven.

[3] The same applies to what Israel said about the rest of his sons, for example, regarding Zebulun, that he will dwell at the haven of the seas and of ships, with his side towards Sidon; regarding Issachar, that being a bony ass lying down between burdens he will bend his shoulder to bear burdens; regarding Dan, that he will be a serpent on the road, a darting serpent on the path, biting the horse's heels, and its rider will fall backwards; and so on regarding the rest of his sons. All this, as has been stated, plainly demonstrates the existence of an internal sense. The Word is given so that it may unite heaven and earth, that is, angels with men, and for that reason it has been written in such a way that angels may understand it in a spiritual manner while a person understands it in a natural one. And this brings a holy influence by way of the angels that causes the two to be united.

[4] Such is the nature of the Word both in the historical sections and in the prophetical parts. Yet the internal sense is less apparent in the historical sections than the prophetical parts because the historical narratives have been written in a different style, though that style nevertheless employs meaningful signs. Those narratives have been provided so that children, younger or older, may be introduced through them into reading the Word, for they give children delight and stay in their minds. Through those narratives they are brought in contact with the heavens, a contact that is pleasing because children live in a state of innocence and charity for one another. This is the reason for the existence of the historical part of the Word. And the reason why there is a prophetical part is so that a person may have no more than a vague understanding of it when he reads it; yet when the kind of person alive today gleans a vague understanding, the angels have a clear perception. This I have been allowed to know from much experience, which in the Lord's Divine mercy will be presented elsewhere.

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