Matthew 12

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version         

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1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.

2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.

3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.

7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:

10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.

11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?

12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;

16 And charged them that they should not make him known:

17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.

19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.

20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.

23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.

44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.

45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

← Matthew 11   Matthew 13 →
   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Matthew 12      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verse 1. The Lord teaches by representatives, that when spiritual good and truth are conjoined, which is the Sabbath, then the church may enter into the possession and appropriation of all natural good and truth.

Verse 2. Which liberty is condemned as contrary to order, by those who are in the mere representatives of the church, and thus only in the literal sense of the Word.

Verses 3-6. But the Lord teaches that it is agreeable to the internal sense of the Word.

Verse 6. And also to Himself, who is the all of that sense.

Verses 7, 8. And who wills internal worship more than external, and is the all of good and truth, and of their conjunction. 

Verses 9-14. By whom alone therefore truth, which had separated itself from good, is restored to communication and conjunction, and good is liberated from falsities.

Verse 14. Which is not believed by those who are in the mere representatives of the church, and who therefore separate themselves from the Lord's Divine Humanity.

Verse 15. But it is believed by others, who are thereby delivered from evils and falsities.

Verse 16. And this out of mere mercy.

Verses 17-22. As had been predicted.

Verse 18. By which predictions it was declared, that the Lord would glorify His Human essence, by uniting it with the Divine, that He might thus reveal Truth Divine to those who were in ignorance.

Verse 19. And this without doing violence to their natural affections, thoughts, and conceptions,

Verse 20. Or hurting the sensual truth belonging to the simple, or destroying any spiritual truth beginning to have life with them from ever so scanty a measure of the good of love.

Verse 21. Thus they who were in ignorance and simple good would attain eternal life through conjunction with the Lord's Divine Humanity.

Verses 22, 23. By whose Omnipotence all infernal falsities are separated, which cause an obstruction of intellectual sight and of the confession of Divine power, so that the Divine Humanity is acknowledged by all who are in any state of good and truth.

Verse 24. Nevertheless, these effects are imputed to infernal agency by those who are in hypocritical good.

Verses 25, 26. Although it is an eternal truth, that dominion grounded in what is evil and false, is altogether contrary to dominion grounded in what is good and true, and that neither dominion can stand, but must fall to pieces, unless there be unanimity in its constituent principles.

Verse 27. And if the Lord's Divine Humanity exercised power over infernal falsities, in consequence of its connection with infernal agency, then every other power of truth exercised over falsities must be in the same connection.

Verse 28. As, on the other hand, if the Lord's Divine Humanity acts from its own proper Divine power, which is the Divine Truth in union with Divine Good, to extirpate falsities, then it is ready to communicate itself for the same purpose to every one else who is in truth and good.

Verse 29. And unless this Divine power be communicated for the subjugation of infernal falsities, it is impossible that evils with their concupiscences can be subdued; whereas if the dominion of infernal falsities be destroyed, then the dominion of evils and their cravings cannot long endure.

Verse 30. Therefore whoever is not conjoined with the Lord's Divine Humanity in the good of love, must needs be disjoined in the opposite evil, and whoever is not conjoined with the same in the truth of faith must needs be disjoined in the opposite false principle.

Verse 31. And whoever denies the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord's Divine Humanity that is, the Word, and adulterates its essential goods, and falsifies its essential truths, must needs separate himself from all conjunction with heaven.

Verse 32. But not so, if he only interprets the natural sense of the Word, which is the sense of the letter, according to appearances.

Verses 33, 34. Therefore it is not allowable. for any one to speak well and to think ill, nor to do well and to will ill, for thereby the false lies concealed inwardly in the truths which are spoken, and in the goods which are done, which is hidden poison.

Verse 35. That in the works of a regenerate man are contained all the goods and truths from which they proceed, and in the works of an unregenerate man all his evils and falsities, whatever may be the appearances to the contrary.

Verses 36, 37. The same is true of their words.

Verses 38, 39. That it is not allowable to seek testifications of the truth in anything but in the genuine effect of truth, which with the Lord was the glorification of His Humanity, and with man is regeneration.

Verse 40. Which glorification could only be effected, and which regeneration can only be effected, by temptation-combats, of which Jonah in the fish's belly, and the Lord's death and burial, were representative figures.

Verse 41. That the more interior the truths are, which are made known to man's understanding, so much the greater is his condemnation, if he does not shun evils accordingly.

Verse 42. And if he is not more interiorly affected with the love of truth.

Verses 43, 44. For however in such case the defilements of the natural man may appear externally removed, yet the internal man is without faith and charity, and full of falsities and evils.

Verse 45. Whence comes profanation of holy things, or the conjunction of evil with good, which is a more dangerous state than that of no faith.

Verses 46-50. Therefore the Lord has no conjunction with external good and truth, only so far as they proceed from the internal.

Verse 48. Because He Himself successively and continually separated from Himself, and put off what was merely human.

Verse 50. Therefore He acknowledges none as conjoined with Him, but such as are in the good of charity from Him, and in truths derived from that good, and who are thus of His spiritual church.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 794, 901, 1017, 1749, 2159, 2371, 2574, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 10, 32, 134, 160, 194, 206, 350, ...

Conjugial Love 119, 120

Divine Providence 98, 133, 231, 233

The Lord 27, 35, 42, 48, 50

Sacred Scripture 51

Doctrine of Life 28, 51, 79, 104

Heaven and Hell 287, 507

True Christian Religion 102, 137, 138, 299, 301, 306, 314, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 169, 172


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 46, 108, 109, 205, 223, 239, 254, ...

Canons of the New Church 37

De Domino 10, 65, 68

Spiritual Experiences 299, 2706, 5992

Marriage 102, 122

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 13, 14, 88

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 16:29

Leviticus 24:9

Numbers 28:9

Joshua 14:7

1 Samuel 21:4, 7

1 Kings 10:1, 13:3

Job 15:6

Proverbs 4:23, 10:32

Ecclesiastes 12:14

Isaiah 7:11, 11:2, 4, 10, 32:6, 8, 35:5, 42:1, 4, 49:25, 51:5, 57:15, 61:1

Jeremiah 13:23, 23:36

Hosea 6:6

Jonah 2:1, 3:5

Word/Phrase Explanations

disciples
A disciple in Matthew 10:41 signifies charity and at the same time, faith from the Lord. It disciple signifies the truth of life, and a...

hungred
'Hunger,' or 'famine,' signifies evils of life. 'Hunger,' or 'famine,' signifies desiring good from affection, because 'bread,' in the internal sense, is the good of...

pharisees
The Pharisees were a sect of the Jewish church at the time of the New Testament. The name comes from a root that means "separate",...

saw
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...

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...

to
'To jubilate' or 'make a joyful noise' signifies worship from the delight of good.

entered
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

the law
Jews at the time of Jesus had a number of ways to break down and describe the books of the Old Testament. Among the more...

the temple
'Solomon's temple' represents heaven and the church.

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...

son of man
The Lord, in some places, calls Himself 'the son of God,' at other times, 'the son of man (ἄνθρωπος).' This is always according to the...

son
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

withered
In the Bible (and in life), the idea of withering is usually connected to plants, and plants generally wither if they don't get enough water....

asked
The words "ask" and "question" are used a number of different in natural language, and a number of different ways in the Bible. The spiritual...

heal
'Healing' signifies reformation by truth derived by good. 'Healing in his wings,' as mentioned in Malachi 3:20, signifies reformation by divine truth from good.

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

hold
'To hold fast' signifies permanence in a state of good of love and faith up to the visitation.

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...

stretch
The hand in the Bible represents power, which is easy to understand, so to reach out or stretch out the hand means to exercise power,...

stretched
The hand in the Bible represents power, which is easy to understand, so to reach out or stretch out the hand means to exercise power,...

multitudes
'A multitude' relates to truths.

healed
'Healing' signifies reformation by truth derived by good. 'Healing in his wings,' as mentioned in Malachi 3:20, signifies reformation by divine truth from good.

make
'Make mention' denotes communication.

Fulfilled
When the Lord said that all things which were written concerning him were fulfilled, he meant that all things were fulfilled in their inmost sense.

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.

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'...

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

shew
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

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...

blind
The meaning of “blind” in the Bible is not hard to see (no pun intended!). If light represents the flow of truthful ideas from the...

dumb
To be dumb, or unable to speak, as in Isaiah 35:6, signifies those who on account of ignorance of the truth, cannot confess the Lord,...

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

heard
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...

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

satan
In the Word, 'Satan' signifies people who are caught up in the pride of self-derived intelligence. Similarly, from Apocalypse Revealed 841, "they are in untruths...

Spirit of God
'The spirit of God,' as in Genesis 1:2, signifies the divine mercy of the Lord. 'The spirit of God' is His emanation. 'The spirit of...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

Blasphemy
'To sin against the holy spirit' is to deny the Lord’s divinity and the sanctity of the Word.

ghost
'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'...

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

word
'Sayings' denotes persuasion. 'Sayings,' when related to Jehovah, signify informing or instructing.

vipers
'Viper' signifies mortal hatreds and also extremely deceitful people.

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...

treasure
'Treasure,' as in Matthew 13:44, signifies divine truth in the Word.

Scribes
'The chief priests and scribes,' as in Matthew 20:18, signify the adulterations of good and the falsifications of truth.

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...

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...

sign
'A sign' is mentioned in the Word in reference to the future, which constitutes revelation. This also refers to truth, when it constitutes testification. It...

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

Nineveh
'Nineveh' signifies the falsities of doctrinal matters, also the Gentiles, or the falsities originating in the fallacies of the senses, in the obscurity of an...

rise
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

rise up
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

Wisdom
'Wisdom,' as in Revelation 5:12, related to the Lord, signifies His divine providence.

Unclean spirit is gone out of a man
'The unclean spirit is gone out of a man (Greek: anthrópos, ἄνθρωπος),' as in Luke 11:24, signifies removal of evils and falsities from a person...

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

goeth
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...

spirits
There are two aspects to the life of each person. We might call them "heart" and "mind," a part of us that wants and feels...

state
A general description of the six states of regeneration can be found in Arcana Coelestia 6-13, a description of a full state, in Arcana Coelestia...

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

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

mother
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

Father
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

heaven
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

sister
The Lord calls people who are in truth from the good of charity from Him 'sisters,' as in Matthew 12:50. 'Sister' denotes intellectual truth, when...

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The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


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