“And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” - Revelation 22:17
Kempton New Church

Week 3
Day 3


The Vastation of the Church

Do Not Trust in Riches for Salvation

Psalm 49


To the victor; for the sons of Korah, a psalm.

Hear this, all the peoples;

Give ear, all you that dwell in this lifetime;


Even the sons of Man, even the sons of a man◦3,

The rich and the needy together....


Why should I fear in the days of evil?

The iniquity of my heels surrounds me.


Those who trust in their belongings,

And praise themselves in the multitude of their riches,


Ransoming, a brother will not ransom4 a man◦;

He will not give to God an atonement for him....


For he sees that the wise die,

The senseless one and the brutish one perish together,

And leave their belongings to others.


Their inward thought is

That their houses will be to eternity,

Their habitations for generation and generation;

They call by their own names the tracts of ground.


But man, who is in what is precious, does not abide;

He is similar to the beasts that are cut off....


As a flock they are put in hell;

Death shall pasture them....


Surely God will ransom my soul from the hand of hell;

For He will receive me. Selah.


Fear not when a man◦ is enriched,

When the glory of his house multiplies;


For in his death he shall take nothing;

His glory shall not go down after him....


For in his life he blesses his soul

And they confess thee, that thou doest good to thyself....

versestopicSummary of the Spiritual Sense
2Let there be attention to the following:
5-62About those who are merely natural, and boast of [their] knowledges and their own intelligence.
7-92No salvation comes from that source.
10-132,15However much they may boast of such things, they perish,
142,15and come into hell.
1517Salvation is solely in the Lord.
16-202Knowledge and one’s own intelligence does not save after death.

The sons of Man, the sons of a man◦, the rich and needy (v.1-3)

AE 724:23. “The sons of Man” [homo] signify spiritual truths from the Lord through the Word, which are doctrinals, and “the sons of man” [vir] signify rational and natural truths that are from the understanding; thus they signify the understanding of the Word. “The rich and the needy” signify those who attain much wisdom from these [truths] and those who attain but little.

The iniquity of my heels surrounds me (verse 5).

AC 259. ... By the “heel” is meant the lowest natural or bodily [part] .... The most ancient people... referred man’s celestial and spiritual things to the head and face; what comes forth from these, as charity and mercy, to the chest; natural things, to the [lower legs and] feet; lower natural things, to the soles of the feet; and the lowest natural and corporeal things, to the heel.... The mode in which the serpent destroyed those lowest natural things... among the Jews, by sensuous things, traditions, trifles, and by the love of self and of the world; and how at this day he has destroyed and continues to destroy them by the things of sense, of memory-knowledge, and of philosophy, and at the same time by the same loves, shall of the Lord’s Divine mercy be told hereafter.

The senseless one and the brutish one (verse 10, 20).

AC 9140. The signification of a “beast of burden” [is] bodily pleasure, or appetite. That it signifies with but little consciousness, is because when a man is in these cupidities, he consults reason but little, and thus has but little consciousness of what he is doing.... For the more a man acts from the body, the less he acts from reason, the body being in the world, thus remote from heaven, where genuine reason is. Moreover, in the original tongue a “beast of burden” is so called from its brutishness and stupidity, thus from its little consciousness; as in Ps. 49:10.

3In the Kempton Revision, a man◦ (with a little circle) means a “male.”

4i.e., cannot ransom

Questions and Comments
  1. In the natural sense, this psalm is against setting our heart on riches and the pride of wealth. In the spiritual sense, wealth corresponds to having a lot of knowledge, especially of the Word. Which is a more serious problem today: pride in wealth, or pride in one’s own intelligence?
  2. “The iniquity of our heels” still surrounds us, as the loves of self and the world destroy people’s faith in the Word and a life according to it by things of sense, memory-knowledge and philosophy. What is an example?
  3. Twice this psalm says, “Man, who is in what is precious, and understands not, is similar to the beasts that are cut off” (vss. 12, 20). How can we apply this to ourselves, so the church is not vastated in us?
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