Which are the Books of the Word

Which are the Books of the Word

The books of the Word are all those that have an internal sense; and those that have not are not the Word. The books of the Word in the Old Testament are the five books of Moses, the book of Joshua, the book of Judges, the two books of Samuel, the two books of the Kings, the Psalms of David, the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; and in the New Testament, the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Apocalypse. (AC n. 10,325)

Four Different Styles in the Word

There are in general four different styles in the Word. The first was that of the Most Ancient Church. Their mode of expression was such that when they mentioned terrestrial and worldly things they thought of the spiritual and celestial things which they represented. They therefore not only expressed themselves by representatives, but also formed them into a cer­tain quasi historical series, that they might be the more living, which was to them in the highest degree delightful. This style was meant when Hannah prophesied, saying, “Speak ye what is high, high, let what is ancient come forth out of your mouth” (1 Sam. ii. 3). These representatives are called by David “dark sayings of old ” (Psalm lxxviii. 2). The particulars concerning the creation, and the garden of Eden, etc., down to the time of Abram, Moses had from the descendants of the Most Ancient Church. The second style is historical, which is found in the books of Moses from the time of Abram, and onwards to Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and the Kings; in which the historical events are precisely as they appear in the sense of the letter, and yet they all and each contain quite other things in the internal sense; of which, by the Divine mercy of the Lord, in their order in the following pages. The third style is prophetical, and was born of the style of the Most Ancient Church, which was greatly revered. But it is not connected and quasi historical, like the most ancient, but broken and even scarcely intelligible except in the internal sense; wherein are the profoundest mysteries, which follow each other in beautiful connected order, and relate to the internal and external man; to the many states of the church; to heaven itself; and in the inmost sense to the Lord. The fourth is that of the Psalms of David; which is intermediate between the prophetical style and that of common speech. The Lord is there treated of in the internal sense under the person of David as a king. (AC n. 66)

The Word of the Old Testament

No mortal conceives from the letter that the Word of the Old Testament contains the mysteries of heaven; and that all and everything therein relates to the Lord, His heaven, the Church, faith, and things that belong to faith. For from the letter, or the sense of the letter, no one perceives anything but that in general they relate to the externals of the Jewish church; and yet there are everywhere internal things which do not appear at all in the external, save a very few which the Lord revealed and explained to the Apostles; as that the sacrifices are significative of the Lord; and that the land of Canaan and Jerusalem—like­wise Paradise—signify heaven; and therefore they are called the heavenly Canaan and Jerusalem.

But that each and all things, yea, the very least, even to the smallest iota, signify and involve spiritual and celestial things, is to this day profoundly unknown to the Christian world, and therefore it pays little attention to the Old Testament. Yet they might know this from a single consideration; that since the Word is the Lord’s and from the Lord, it could not but be that it inwardly contains such things as relate to heaven, to the church, and to faith. Otherwise it could not be called the Word of the Lord, nor be said to have any life within it. For whence is its life, but from those things which are of life? that is, but from the fact that each and all things therein have relation to the Lord, who is the veriest Life? Whatever therefore has not regard interiorly to Him has not life. Nay, whatever expression in the Word does not involve Him, or in its manner relate to Him, is not Divine. (AC n. 1, 2)


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