John 16

Study the Inner Meaning

King James Version         

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1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?

6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?

18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.

26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:

27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of John 16      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Explaining the Inner Meaning of John 16

Verses 16:1, 2, 3. That through the power of divine truth there is protection in the time of persecution, when worship shall become merely external, through the extinction of all heavenly good and truth, resulting from the non-acknowledgement of the divinity of the Lord's humanity.

Verses 16:4, 5, 6. Which things are manifested to the understanding, to the intent that they may affect the will and love, and be thus acknowledged to be of divine prediction, in relation to a future state of the church, when the divine operation was no longer to be external, or by truth, but internal, or by good, of which state they, who are principled in truth, are not yet aware.

Verses 16:7, 8. For truth, in its external manifestation, must apparently be taken away, to the intent that it may be received again internally, and by such internal manifestation may remove from man the powers of evil and error, and establish in him the heavenly powers of good and truth.

Verses 16:9, 10, 11. All which evil and error result from the non-acknowledgement of the Lord's Divine Humanity, whilst the glorification of this humanity, together with the subjugation of the powers of darkness, constitute the all of good and of truth.

Verses 16:12, 13. Therefore a limit is set to the instruction of truth externally, but not to the reception of truth internally, because internal truth is in connection with divine good and truth, and thus leads man to depend on the Lord in all states of life.

Verses 16:14, 15, 16. For internal truth is the operation of the Lord's Divine Humanity, and thus the medium of communication with the divine truth in its union with the divine good, and therefore it succeeds the external manifestation of truth.

Verses 16:17, 18, 19, 20. This doctrine however, is with difficulty apprehended by those who receive truth only externally, until they are instructed that the external reception of truth leads man into spiritual temptations, and that by those temptations his state is inverted, and he is thus led to receive truth internally, or in its connection with the divine truth.

Verses 16:21, 22. For every state of spiritual temptation is attended with trouble, but when the temptation is past, the trouble is succeeded by joy, through the manifestation and operation of the divine truth.

Verses 16:23, 24. On which occasion, the guidance of external truth is no longer sought for, but the guidance of internal truth in connection with the Lord's Divine Humanity, which alone brings fullness of satisfaction.

Verses 16:25, 26, 27. Therefore the instruction of external truth must precede, and be succeeded by that which is internal, in which case the Lord in his Divine Humanity will be exalted as the supreme object of worship, who from mercy intercedes for all, and conjoins himself to all, who from love acknowledge him in that Humanity as the manifested Jehovah.

Verses 16:28, 29, 30. For the divine principle itself assumed the human, and became a man, and afterwards united the human essence to the divine, thus convincing, by the light of internal truth, all who are willing to be convinced, that the human essence of the Lord is divine.

Verses 16:31, 32, 33. Nevertheless the loves of self and of the world will operate to obscure this truth even with the well disposed, and therefore all such are instructed, that the acknowledgement of this truth leads to conjunction of life with the Lord, and that therefore whatever of temptation may arise from the above evil loves, they ought the more to confide in the Lord, who has subdued all infernal evils and falsities.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 124, 1846, 2025, 2235, 2320, 2397, 2447, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 6, 173, 306, 325, 376, 613, 618, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 44, 57, 117, 120

Conjugial Love 82, 118

Divine Love and Wisdom 149

Divine Providence 230

Doctrine of the Lord 13, 20, 31, 32, 35, 51

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture 85

Heaven and Hell 2, 5, 287

The Last Judgement 46

True Christian Religion 3, 51, 98, 110, 116, 139, 153, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 294


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 32, 120, 183, 200, 228, 315, 359, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 39

Canons of the New Church 21, 37, 40, 41, 43

De Domino 11, 12

Spiritual Experiences 509

Marriage 3, 51, 98, 110, 116

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 3, 14, 19, 27, 94

Related New Christian Commentary

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Bible Word Meanings

spoken
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

killeth
The Lord is love itself, and that love is the ultimate source of all energy and thus of all life. It follows, then, that the...

service
Generally speaking, those who are at lower levels of an organization serve those at higher levels. Bosses boss and their employees serve; coaches devise strategy...

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

remember
'To remember,' as in Genesis 41:9, signifies conjunction. 'Remembering' denotes conjunction because the remembrance of anyone in the other life joins them together, because as...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

way
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

goest
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

sorrow
Grief is anxiety of heart or will.

filled
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

tell
'To tell' signifies perceiving, because in the spiritual world, or in heaven, they do not need to tell what they think because they communicate every...

the truth
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

truth
There's a great deal of talk in Swedenborg about "truth" as a concept – it's how we learn the Lord's will, what we must seek...

The Comforter
'The Comforter' signifies the divine truth proceeding from the Lord.

world
The term "world" has both general and more specific meanings in the Bible, including the relatively literal sense of the natural, physical world. In more...

righteousness
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

believe
The meaning of "believe" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but runs deeper than what appears on the surface. When in the Old Testament people...

see
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

say
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

spirit
'The seven spirits' in Matthew 12:45 signify all falsities of evil, and as a result, a total extinction of goodness and truth. 'The seven spirits'...

Spirit of Truth
In the Word, the 'Holy spirit' means divine truth, and also the divine virtue and operation that proceed from God. (True Christian Religion 139)In another...

speak
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

hear
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

shew
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

glorify
'To glorify' signifies acknowledgment and confession.

all things
The Lord is life itself, is the Creator of the universe, and is the source of life on an ongoing basis. So in a literal...

Go to the father
To go to the father, as in John 16:28, signifies the uniting of the human to the divine essence.

disciples
When we read the Gospels and see Jesus addressing the disciples, we assume His words are meant for us as well. And indeed they are!...

saith
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

rejoice
Feelings of joy and rejoicing flow from our affections, not from our thoughts. Some people might argue that that's not true, that you can rejoice...

turned
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

joy
Feelings of joy and rejoicing flow from our affections, not from our thoughts. Some people might argue that that's not true, that you can rejoice...

hour
The Writings tell us that time and space are aspects of the physical world, but do not exist as we know them in the spiritual...

remembereth
'To remember,' as in Genesis 41:9, signifies conjunction. 'Remembering' denotes conjunction because the remembrance of anyone in the other life joins them together, because as...

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

believed
The meaning of "believe" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but runs deeper than what appears on the surface. When in the Old Testament people...

answered
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

alone
To be alone in the Bible represents being free of evil and false influences. That's why the Lord seeks solitude to pray, and why the...

might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

peace
In ordinary life, we tend to think of "peace" as essentially "a lack of conflict." As a nation, if we're not at war, it's a...

tribulation
'Tribulation,' as in Matthew 24:29, signifies the state of the church when there are no longer any goods and truths.

overcome
'To overcome' signifies receiving in heart. 'To overcome' signifies conquering temptations, and remaining in a state of faith derived from charity.

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