To a land that I will show you (Genesis 12:1-8 )

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version         

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1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

Full Chapter  
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 1407, 1408, 1409, 1410, 1411, 1412, 1413, ...

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 413


Other references to this story:

Arcana Coelestia 440, 482, 796, 921, 1025, 1401, 1403, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 340, 750

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 49

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Spiritual Topics:



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Word/Phrase Explanations

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...

lord
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

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...

Abram
Abram and Nahor taking to themselves wives, Sarah and Milcah (Gen 11:29), signifies marriages of evil with falsity in idolatrous worship. Abram, Nahor, and Haran,...

country
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

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...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

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...

shew
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

great
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

nation
'A nation,' as in Genesis 21:18, signifies the spiritual church which should receive the good of faith. Nation from afar,' as in Jeremiah 5:17, signifies...

bless
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

blessing
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

families
Families (Gen 8:19) signify goodnesses and truths arranged in man by the Lord, according to order. Families have respect to truths. (Nahum 3:4)

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

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...

five
Five also signifies all things of one part.

old
'Old waste places' signify the celestial aspects of faith.

haran
'Haran,' as mentioned in Genesis 11:28, signifies inward idolatrous worship. 'Haran,' as mentioned in Genesis 12:5, signifies an obscure state. 'Haran,' as mentioned in Genesis...

wife
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

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...

son
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

souls
The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

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...

Land of Canaan
The land of Canaan' in the Word, means love, and consequently, the will of the celestial self.

canaan
Canaan signifies a worship in things external without internals, which arose out of the internal church corrupted, called Ham. Thus it is that Ham is...

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...

passed
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

place
'A dry place,' as in Luke 11:24, signifies states of evil and falsity which are in the life of someone who does the work of...

sichem
In Genesis 12:6, 'Abram’s passing through the land unto the place Shechem' signifies a new state of the Lord when the celestial aspects of love...

Moreh
'Moreh' signifies the earliest moment of the Lord's perception.

seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

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...

builded
wrought (also entwined or entwisted) is predicated of the natural scientific principle, and in Isaiah 45:13, of divine natural truth.

altar
The first altar mentioned in the Word was built by Noah after he came out of the ark. On that altar, he sacrificed clean animals...

removed
As with many verbs, the meaning of "remove" in the Bible varies a good bit depending on context. It generally involves a separation of spiritual...

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...

bethel
When Jacob had his famous dream, of a staircase leading to heaven, he named the place "Bethel," which is Hebrew for "the house of God."...

tent
'The tabernacle' has almost the same meaning as 'temple,' that is, in the highest sense, the Lord’s divine humanity, and in a relative sense, heaven...

hai
Hai, or Ai, signifies light derived from worldly things.

called
'To proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

name of the lord
Names in the Bible are not simply names; they represent the qualities of the people who bear them. So the various names of the Lord...

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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 at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Abraham and Lot
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Abraham and Sarah's Family
The Lord promises Abraham many descendants.
Story | Ages 2 - 8

 Abraham Leaves for the Promised Land
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 God’s Covenant with Abram
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Call of Abram
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 Call of Abram
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 The Call of Abram
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

 The Lord’s State at Birth
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Tower of Babel
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 You Shall Be a Blessing
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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