Matthew 4

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version

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1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;

13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:

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

15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;

16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 276, 290, 681, 730, 1288, 1444, 1690, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 405, 413, 478, 546, 553, 664, 749, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 113

Conjugial Love 529

The Lord 12, 18, 42

Sacred Scripture 69, 111

Heaven and Hell 129

Interaction of the Soul and Body 20

True Christian Religion 113, 239, 270, 342, 528

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 218


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 120, 223, 376, 405, 439, 447, 513, ...

De Verbo (The Word) 17

Marriage 113

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 20, 30, ...

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 3:1

Exodus 34:14, 28

Deuteronomy 6:13, 16, 8:3, 10:20

1 Samuel 7:3

1 Kings 19:8, 21

Nehemiah 11:1

Psalms 91:11, 12

Proverbs 3:23

Isaiah 9:1, 52:1, 60:1

Word/Phrase Explanations

Led
'To be led by the Lord' is to be in a state of essential liberty, blessedness, and happiness.

spirit
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...

Wilderness
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

the devil
In the Word, 'Satan' 'the devil,' and 'the prince of the world,' signify hell.

forty
'Forty' means completeness because 'four' means what is complete, as does 'ten.' Forty is the product of four and ten. Compound numbers have a meaning...

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

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...

son of god
Swedeborg offers different angles on the phrase "the Son of God," sometimes saying that it refers to the "divine human" and sometimes saying it refers...

Son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

command
To command is to give an order that something must be done, and is directed to an individual, or a group. It is an imperative,...

stones
Stones in the Bible in general represent truths, or things we know concerning the Lord and what He wants from us and for us in...

bread
The word “bread” is used two ways in the Bible. In some cases it means actual bread; in others it stands for food in general....

written
If knowing what’s right were the same as doing what’s right, we would all be thin, healthy, hard-working, law-abiding, faithful to our spouses and free...

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

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...

Word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

mouth
In most cases, "mouth" in the Bible represents thought and logic, especially the kind of active, concrete thought that is connected with speech. The reason...

holy
The Bible describes many things as being holy, or sacred. The Ark of the Covenant is one very holy object. The inmost chamber of the...

City
In the ancient world cities were very nearly nations unto themselves – they existed within walls, with their own laws and customs, generally centered on...

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

temple
'The Tabernacle of God,' as in Revelation 21:3, signifies the celestial church. In a universal sense, it signifies the celestial kingdom of the Lord, and...

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

angels
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

bear
Like many verbs, the spiritual meaning of "bearing" something depends greatly on context – what it is that's being borne, and why. It is further...

foot
Our feet are the lowest and most utilitarian parts of our bodies, and in the Bible they represent the lowest and most utilitarian part of...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

High
'Height' signifies what is inward, and also heaven.

mountain
The Writings tell us that the Lord's love is the sun of heaven, and it is natural for us to look above ourselves to the...

glory
We tend to speak somewhat casually of "truth from the Lord," but in actual fact the Writings tell us that in its true form the...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

fall
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

Worship
'Worship,' as in Revelation 13:12, signifies acknowledging something to be sacred in the church.

Satan
'Satan' signifies people who are caught up in the pride of self-derived intelligence.

serve
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...

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...

john
Jesus as a man in the Bible represents Divine Truth, the pure and perfect expression of the Lord's infinite love. That truth is contained within...

Prison
'The house of the prison' denotes the vastation of falsity, and also falsity itself.

Galilee
Cana of Galilee signifies the church among the Gentiles.

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

sea
Water generally represents what Swedenborg calls “natural truth,” or true concepts about day-to-day matters and physical things. Since all water ultimately flows into the seas,...

borders
Often translated as “edge,” “border,” “boundary,” “outskirts,” “far places” and other ways, this term is used in the Bible for the farthest reaches of an...

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

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...

prophet
The idea of a "prophet" is very closely tied to the idea of the Bible itself, since the Bible was largely written by prophets. At...

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

land of
'The land of Rameses,' as in Genesis 47:11, signifies the inmost of the spiritual principle in the natural mind.

way
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...

Jordan
The land of Jordan,' as in Psalm 42:6, signifies what is lowly, consequently, what is distant from the celestial, as the external parts of a...

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

sat
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" is a state where truth is lacking.

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...

light
Nov. 4, 1879: Thomas Edison filed a patent for a long-burning light bulb. Nov. 5, 1879: The light bulb was universally accepted as the symbol...

shadow
Since the sun’s light represents the Lord’s Divine Truth, “shade” represents a spiritual state in which that light is blocked. The Writings often use the...

Shadow of death
'The shadow of death' has respect to the states of people in hell, who are in the falsities of evil.

time
Time is an aspect of the physical world, but according to Swedenborg is not an aspect of the spiritual world. The same is true of...

began
In the Word, "beginning" in doesn't just mean the beginning of something in time. In the inner sense, it means the initial phase of a...

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...

heaven
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

walking
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

sea of galilee
A large percentage of Jesus's ministry was performed around and occasionally actually on the Sea of Galilee, a large freshwater lake in northern Judea, also...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Brethren
Brethren (Gen. 27:29) signify the affections of good.

simon
Peter – born Simon, son of Jonah – is certainly one of the Bible's most important figures, second only to Jesus in the New Testament....

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

Peter
Key of David,' as in Revelation 3:7, signifies the Lord's omnipotence over heaven and hell. 'The keys of Peter,' in Matthew 18:18, signify the same...

brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

casting
For something to be cast down or cast out generally refers to a rather dramatic move from a higher spiritual state to a lower one....

Net
To cast the net on the right side,' as in John 21:6, signifies teaching the good of life.

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

men
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

going on
Journeying' or 'going on' denotes progressing or advancing in life, in the opposite sense, it means going back.

going
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...

James
James' denotes faith, charity, and the goods of charity.

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

Gospel
‘Gospel’ signifies the coming of the Lord. ’To preach the gospel’ is to announce His coming. ‘Gospel’ is glad tidings, and ‘the everlasting gospel’ is...

Healing
'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.

Sickness
'The sickness prior to death means a movement towards regeneration, so the next stage towards it. A person is by nature in a state of...

Syria
'Syria,' as in Ezekiel 27:16, signifies the church regarding knowledges of truth and good.

Sick
'The sick,' as in Matthew 25:35, signify people in evil, and those who acknowledge that in themselves there is nothing but evil.

Resources for parents and teachers

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 by following this link.


 Calling the First Disciples
Make a collage showing the Lord calling Simon Peter and Andrew to follow Him.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Discipleship at Easter
The final events in Jesus' life unfolded quickly. The disciples responded to the changes in different ways. The twelve disciples picture qualities in us that follow the Lord. How do we respond when our faith is challenged?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Fighting from Truth
Explore ways truths from the Word can help us fight against evil, just as the Lord answered the devil with a quotation from the Word when the devil tried to tempt Him.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Fishermen
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Follow Me
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Follow Me
Make stick puppets to show Simon and Andrew following the Lord
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Follow Me
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 For Reflection: Hell Is Like a Huge Lion
How does the Lord help us fight against evil?
Activity | Ages over 15

 I Am the Light of the World
This sermon explores light and darkness, focusing on how the prophecy in Isaiah (9:2) can help us understand the nature of God, what He longs to do, and the kind of life to which He leads us.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Jesus Calls the Disciples
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Quotes: Disciples of the Lord
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Spiritual Food
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The First Disciples
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The First Disciples
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The First Disciples (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The First Disciples (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The First Disciples (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Lord as Teacher
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord Calling Fishermen as Disciples
Color and cut out fish to add to this project showing Jesus with two fishermen.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Lord Calls Simon and Andrew
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord's Disciples
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord's Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is a way of talking directly to the Lord who is our Heavenly Father. The Lord gave us this prayer because it can lead our minds to the important things that will make our spirits grow strong. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Level 1, for ages 6-7.
Religion Lesson | Ages 6 - 7

 The Lord's Tempations
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Lord's Temptations
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord’s Temptations (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord’s Temptations (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Lord’s Temptations (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Power to Resist Temptation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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