Milk and Butter

Spiritual Meaning of Milk, Butter

That butter is the celestial of the rational; that milk is the derivative spiritual; and that a son of an ox is the corresponding natural, is evident from the signification of butter, of milk, and of a "son of an ox.-' As regards butter, it signifies in the Word what is celestial, and this from its fatness. That fat denotes what is celestial was shown (AC 353); and that oil, because fat, is the celestial itself, (AC 886). That butter also is the celestial, is evident in Isaiah:--

Behold, a virgin beareth a son, and shall call His name Immanuel, Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse what is evil, and choose what is good (Isaiah 7:14, 15),

where the Lord (who is Immanuel) is treated of; and anyone can see that butter is not signified by butter, nor honey by honey; but that by butter is signified His celestial, and by honey that which is from the celestial.

[2] In the same:--

And it shall come to pass, for the multitude of the making of milk He shall eat butter; for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the midst of the land (Isaiah 7:22),

where the Lord's kingdom is treated of, and those on earth who are in the Lord's kingdom. Milk here denotes spiritual good, butter celestial good, and honey the derivative happiness.

[3] In Moses:--

Jehovah alone leadeth him, and there is no strange god with him. He maketh him to ride upon the high places of the earth, and to eat the produce of the fields, and He maketh him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flint of the rock butter of the herd, and milk of the flock, with the fat of lambs, and of rams the sons of Bashan, and of he-goats, with the fat of the kidneys of wheat; and of the blood of the grape shalt thou drink unmixed wine (merum) (Deut. 32:12-14).

No one can understand what these things denote unless be knows the internal sense of each one. It appears like a heap of expressions such as are used by the eloquent among the wise ones of the world, and yet every expression signifies the celestial and its spiritual, and also the derivative blessedness and happiness, and all these in a well-ordered series. Butter of the herd is the celestial natural, milk of the flock is the celestial spiritual of the rational.

[4] But as regards milk, as before said, this signifies the spiritual from the celestial, that is, the celestial spiritual. What the celestial spiritual is, see (AC 1577, 1824). That milk is the spiritual which is from the celestial, comes from the fact that water signifies what is spiritual (AC 680, 739) but milk, as there is fat in it, signifies the celestial spiritual, or what is the same, the truth of good; or what is the same, the faith of love or of charity; or what is also the same, the intellectual of the good of the will; and again the same, the affection of truth in which there is inwardly the affection of good; and yet again the same, the affection of knowledges (cognitiones et scientiae) from the affection of charity toward the neighbor, such as exists with those who love the neighbor, and confirm themselves in this love from the knowledges of faith, and also from memory-knowledges, which they love on this account. All these things are the same as the Celestial-spiritual, and are predicated according to the subject treated of.

[5] That this is signified, is evident also from the Word, as in Isaiah:--

Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no silver, come ye, buy, and eat; yea come, buy wine and milk without silver, and without price. Wherefore do ye weigh silver for that which is not bread? (Isaiah 55:1, 2),

where wine denotes the spiritual which is of faith, and milk the spiritual which is of love. In Moses:--

He hath washed his garment in wine, and his clothing in the blood of grapes; his eyes are redder than wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk (Gen. 49:11, 12),

which is the prophecy of Jacob, then Israel, concerning Judah; and by Judah the Lord is here described, and by his teeth being whiter than milk, is signified the celestial spiritual that pertained to His natural.

[6] In Joel:--

It shall be in that day that the mountains shall drop new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk; and all the brooks of Judah shall flow with waters (Joel 3:18),

speaking of the Lord's kingdom milk denotes the celestial spiritual. In the Word the land of Canaan also (by which the Lord's kingdom is represented and signified) is called a land flowing with milk and honey (Num. 13:27; 14:8; Deut. 26:9, 15; 27:3; Jer. 11:5; 32:22; Ezek. 20:6, 15), and in these passages nothing else is meant by milk than an abundance of celestial spiritual things, and by honey an abundance of the derivative happinesses the land is the celestial itself of the kingdom, from which those things come.

from AC 2184