'And the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were a hundred and forty-seven years means the state in general and its essential nature. This becomes clear if the meaning of the numbers seven, forty,
and a hundred is brought out.a For what seven means, see 395, 433, 716, 728, 881, 5165, 5268; for what forty means, 730, 862, 2272, 2273; and for what a hundred means, 1988, 1636, 4400 But no easy explanation
of the sum of these numbers is possible, for they contain far more than anyone can calculate or explain intelligibly. In general these numbers contain the entire state of the reality represented
by 'Jacob' and its essential nature. The angels can see these things in their entirety simply from that number; they can do so because with the angels all numbers in the Word pass into ideas about
spiritual realities. This has also been made evident to me by the fact that on several occasions a long sequence of numbers has appeared in front of me, and whenever they have appeared the angels have
told me that the numbers held, in sequence, the realities which they were talking about to one another. This in addition explains why the most ancient people who belonged to the celestial Church also
had a way of calculating that consisted of numbers employed to express heavenly things which could barely be understood by the use of ideas in the natural mind. But after those people's times such
evaluations perished, along with the perception of heavenly things. All that remained was a knowledge of the general meaning of the simple numbers, such as three, six, seven, and twelve, but not much
knowledge of the meaning of compound numbers. At the present day however even the idea that numbers in the Word mean something more than their numerical values is quite unknown, and therefore the idea
will probably be treated as one of those that are unbelievable.
a The Hebrew way of expressing the number, which is rendered literally in the Latin, is seven years and forty and a hundred years.