In the Word “blindness” is predicated of those who are in falsity, and also of those who are in ignorance of truth. Both are called the “blind;” but which are meant in any special instance can be seen from the series or connection, especially in the internal sense. That they who are in falsity are called the “blind,” is evident from the following passages.
His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark (Isa. 56:10).
“Blind watchmen,” denotes those who from reasoning are in falsity.
We look for light, and behold darkness; for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness; we grope for the wall like the blind (Isa. 59:9-10).
They have wandered as the blind in the streets; they have polluted themselves with blood; what they cannot pollute, they touch with their garments (Lam. 4:14);
meaning that all truths have been polluted; the “streets” denoting the truths wherein they have gone astray.
In that day I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness; every horse of the peoples will I smite with blindness (Zech. 12:4).
Here and elsewhere in the Word a “horse” denotes the understanding; hence it is said that the “horse should be smitten with astonishment,” and that the “horse of the peoples should be smitten with blindness,” that is, should be filled with falsities.
For judgment am I come into the world, that they that see not may see, and that they that see may become blind. They of the Pharisees heard these things, and said, Are we also blind? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye would not have sin; but now ye say, We see, therefore your sin remaineth (John 9:39-41).
Here the “blind” in both senses are spoken of, namely, those who are in falsity, and those who are in ignorance of truth. With those who are within the church and know what the truth is, “blindness” is falsity; but with those who do not know what the truth is (as is the case with those who are outside the church), “blindness” is ignorance of the truth, and these are blameless.
He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they may not see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and I should heal them (John 12:40; Isa. 6:9-11)
meaning that it would be better for them to be in falsities than to be in truths, because they are in a life of evil, and if they were instructed in truths, they would not only still falsify them, but would also defile them with evils; for the like reason that the men of Sodom were smitten with blindness, that is, the doctrinal things were filled with falsities….
As what is blind signified what is false, therefore in the representative Jewish Church it was forbidden to sacrifice anything that was blind (Lev. 22:22; Deut. 15:21; Mal. 1:8). It was also forbidden that any one of the priests who was blind should draw near to offer upon the altar (Lev. 21:18, 21).
That “blindness” is predicated of ignorance of truth, such as prevails with the Gentiles, is evident in Isaiah:
In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the Book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of thick darkness and out of darkness (Isa. 29:18).
Here the “blind” denotes those who are in ignorance of truth, being chiefly those outside the church.
Bring forth the blind people and they shall have eyes; and the deaf and they shall have ears (Isa. 43:8)
where the church of the Gentiles is spoken of.
I will lead the blind in a way that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them (Isa. 42:16).
I will give Thee for a light of the people, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the bound from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house (Isa. 42:6-7)
where the Lord’s advent is treated of, in that they who are in ignorance of truth should then be instructed; for those who are in falsity do not suffer themselves to be so instructed, because they are acquainted with the truth and have confirmed themselves against it, and have turned the light into darkness, which cannot be dispelled.
The master of the house said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the lame, and the blind (Luke 14:21)
where the Lord’s kingdom is treated of, and it is evident that the poor, maimed, lame, and blind are not meant, but those who are such in the spiritual sense.
Jesus said that they should tell John that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and to the poor the gospel is preached (Luke 7:22).
According to the sense of the letter, by the “blind,” the “lame,” the “lepers,” the “deaf,” the “dead,” the “poor,” only these are meant; because it was actually the case that the blind received sight, the deaf hearing, the lepers health, the dead life.
But yet in the internal sense the same are meant as in Isaiah:
Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, and the lame shall leap as the hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing (Isa. 35:5-6)
where the Lord’s advent is treated of, and the new church at that time, which is called that of the Gentiles; of whom it is declared that they were “blind,” “deaf,” “lame,” and “dumb;” being so called in respect to doctrine and to life.
For be it known that all the miracles performed by the Lord always involved, and thence signified, such things as are meant in the internal sense by the healing of the blind, of the lame, of the lepers, the deaf, the dead, and the poor. For this reason the Lord’s miracles were Divine, as also were those performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, as well as all the other miracles that are treated of in the Word. This is an arcanum.