‘Flesh and Blood’ in the Holy Supper

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

He who does violence to truth does violence likewise to good, because truth has been so conjoined with good that the one belongs to the other; and therefore if violence is done to the one, it is done to the other also.

He who knows nothing of the internal sense of the Word, knows no otherwise than that by “bloods” in the Word are signified bloods; and that by “shedding blood” is merely signified killing a man. But –

the internal sense does not treat of the life of man’s body, but of the life of his soul, that is, of his spiritual life, which he is to live forever.

This life is described in the Word in the sense of the letter by such things as belong to the life of the body; namely, by the flesh and blood. And because the spiritual life of man exists and subsists through the good which is of charity and the truth which is of faith, therefore in the internal sense of the Word –

the good which is of charity is meant by “flesh,”
and the truth which is of faith is meant by “blood.

And in a still more interior sense, the good which is of love to the Lord is meant by “flesh,” and the good of love toward the neighbor is meant by “blood.”

But in the supreme sense, which treats of the Lord alone, –

“flesh” denotes the Divine good of the Lord, thus the Lord Himself as to Divine good;
and “blood” denotes the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, thus the Lord as to Divine truth.

These things are understood in heaven by “flesh and blood” when a man is reading the Word; in like manner when he attends the Holy Supper; but in this the bread is the flesh, and the wine is the blood, because by “bread” the same is signified as by “flesh,” and by “wine” the same as by “blood.”

But this is not apprehended by those who are sensuous, as is the case with most men in the world at this day; and therefore let them remain in their own faith, provided they believe that in the Holy Supper, and in the Word, there is something holy, because from the Divine.

Granting that they do not know wherein this holiness consists, nevertheless let those who are endowed with any interior perception (that is, who are able to think above the things of sense), consider whether blood is meant by “blood,” and flesh by “flesh,” of the Lord, in the following passage in John:

The bread that I will give is My flesh. Verily, verily, I say unto you Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye shall not have life in you. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him. This is the bread that came down from heaven  (John 6:51-58).

That the Lord’s “flesh” denotes the Divine good of His Divine love; and that His “blood” denotes the Divine truth proceeding from His Divine good; can be seen from the fact that these are what nourish the spiritual life of a man.

From this also it is said, My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed; and also, this is the bread that came down from heaven. And as man is conjoined with the Lord through love and faith, it is also said, he that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him.

But as before said those alone apprehend this saying who can think above the sensuous things of the body; especially those who are in faith and in love to the Lord, for these are raised by the Lord from the life of the sensuous things of the body toward the life of their spirit; thus from the light of the world into the light of heaven, in which light those material things which are in the thought from the body disappear.

(from Arcana Coelestia 9127: 1 – 5)
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About mike

The Lord is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and from the human race, an angelic heaven would be formed. The reason for my creation was to perform Divine uses - The Divine Providence looks to eternal ends. My gain, honor or reputation no longer could be the focal point of what drives the engine. One day I will lay aside this material body and will wake up in the spiritual world never to return; there will be a continuation of life, and my ruling love will be what guides me to my final situation. 'Where a tree falls, there will it lay' (Ecc 11:3) We only have a few years in these bodies compared to eternity. What is fossilized on our souls in this short period is important to how we spend eternity. We are not left to blind faith, The Lord has come in His Word to reveal rationally how we can be made 'a vessel of honor, able for the master's use.' I truly hope the post create a thirst. If I can be of service, please do not hesitate to email me. --Mike
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