The Bible

Exodus 20:1-6 : The First Commandment: False Gods

Study the Inner Meaning

1 And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Study the Inner Meaning

Main explanation(s) from Swedenborg's works:

Arcana Coelestia 8860, 8861, 8862, 8863, 8864, 8865, 8866 ...

Commentary on this story:


Other references by Swedenborg to this story:

Arcana Coelestia 2575, 6239, 8715, 8753, 8805, 8859, 9349

Apocalypse Revealed 601

Doctrine of the Lord 59

Life 59

True Christian Religion 9, 284, 291

Show references from Swedenborg's unpublished works

Spiritual Topics:

The Ten Commandments


False Gods: Mysteries of the 10 Commandments Explained

By Curtis Childs and Rev. Jonathan Rose

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This video is a part of the "Swedenborg and Life" web series produced by the Swedenborg Foundation (

At face value, the Ten Commandments can seem intense and unforgiving. But Emanuel Swedenborg’s understanding of the internal sense of the Bible—spiritual meanings that lie beneath the literal words—can give us a new perspective on these familiar rules.

In this episode of their Swedenborg and Life web series, hosts Curtis Childs and Jonathan Rose study the inner meaning of the first commandment.

(References: Apocalypse Revealed 950; Arcana Coelestia 8864, 8865, 8868, 8869, 8875, 8878, 8879, 8880, 8881)