The Bible

 

Genesis 1

English: King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, ...

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 246, 300, 476, 478, 480, 670, 709, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

True Christian Religion 20, 34, 46, 48, 364, 490


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 229, 294, 401, 513, 526, 527, 555, ...

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 23, 25, 28

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:




Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 2:3, 7, 16, 19, 5:1, 2, 6:1, 21, 8:17, 9:1, 2, 3, 6, 11:7

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

Job 12:7, 9, 26:8, 38:8

Psalms 8:4, 7, 19:2, 24:2, 33:6, 7, 9, 74:16, 95:5, 104:6, 14, 19, 25, 115:15, 16, 121:2, 136:5, 7, 9, 148:4, 7

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Isaiah 40:26, 45:7, 61:11

Jeremiah 4:23, 10:12, 31:35

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Word/Phrase Explanations

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

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...

created
The creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis means the new creation of the celestial church called 'Man'.

heaven
Heavens are celestial and spiritual things. Consequently, they are inmost things, both of the Lord's kingdom in heaven the and in the earth. This also...

earth
'Lands' of different nations are used in the Word to signify the different kinds of love prevalent in the inhabitants.

form
A person who has yet to be regenerated is called 'a void and an empty earth', and also 'ground where no good or truth has...

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

Face of the deep
The face of the deep (Gen. 1:2) signifies the lust of the unregenerate man, and the falsities thence originating.

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

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...

Face of the waters
The face of the water (Gen. 1:2) signifies the knowledges of good and truth.

waters
'Waters,' 'rivers,' and 'depths,' as in Psalm 78:15-16, signify truths from the Lord.

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...

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...

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...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

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

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

evening
Since the light and warmth of the sun represent the Lord’s wisdom and love, it makes sense that evening, a time when the light and...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

Firmament
The firmament, as in Genesis 1, signifies the internal man. The firmament of heaven is mutual love.

midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

Gathered together
'The waters were gathered together' signifies falsities collected.

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

seas
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,...

herb
Every herb in the Word signifies some species of scientifics. 'Herb bearing seed,' as mentioned in Genesis 1:29, signifies every truth which regards use. 'Green...

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...

fruit
In Zechariah 8:12, 'the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground her increase,' signifies that the spiritual affection of truth produces the good of...

tree
In general, plants in the Bible represent facts, thoughts and ideas – intellectual things. This makes sense: Plants are rooted in place, but can grow...

third
'Three' denotes fullness, and 'a third,' not full.

Third day
'The third day' signifies the end of a state of preparation for reception, and so an end of purification, as in Exodus 19:16. 'The third...

lights
'The two luminaries' denote love and faith in the internal self.

signs
'A token,' as in Genesis 9:12, 13, 17, signifies causing it to be.

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...

Great lights
Great lights, as in luminaries, signify love and faith, and are called in Genesis 1:14-17, the sun, moon, and stars.

greater
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;...

stars
'Stars' signify the knowledge of truth and good. 'Stars' are frequently mentioned in the Word, and always signify goods and truths, but in an opposite...

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...

fourth
'The fourth watch' signifies the first state of the church at break of day, when good begins to act by truth.

fowl
Fowl signify spiritual truth; a bird, natural truth; and a winged thing, sensual truth. Fowl signify intellectual things. Fowl signify thoughts, and all that creeps...

fly
To fly, when spoken of the Lord, signifies to foresee and to provide. To fly, when predicated of the Lord, also signifies omnipresence. To fly...

Open
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

whales
'A whale,' as in Jeremiah 51:34, signifies people who possess the universal aspects of the knowledges of faith, as known, and apply them to evil...

winged
'Wings' signify spiritual truths. 'Wings,' when related to the Lord, signify the divine spiritual. In the opposite sense, 'wings' relate to falsities and rationalizations from...

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...

Fruitful
To be fruitful is predicated of goodnesses, and to be multiplied, of truths.

multiply
'Spreading themselves on the earth,' as in Genesis 8:17, signifies the internal self operating on the external.

fill
There are two ways something can be filled: It can be filled with something bad against the wishes of its owner, or it can be...

beast
"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

image
'An image' signifies falsities from self-derived intelligence.

sea
'The sea and the waves roaring' means heresy and controversies in the church and individual.

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

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...

female
Because of their understanding of spiritual marriage, the people of the Most Ancient church perceived 'male and female' as two faculties in the spiritual self:...

a
A help-meet for him,' or 'a help as before him,' as mentioned in Genesis 2:18, signifies proprium, or what is one's own. However, whereas the...

sixth
Like most numbers in the Bible, "six" can have various meanings depending on context, but has a couple that are primary. When used in relation...

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.


 Animals and Plants in Heaven
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Celebrating the Seven Days of Creation
Offers a wide array of ideas for play time, art projects, field trips, and more.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Correspondences of Light
Illustrations of three stories in the Word that talk about light. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Creation Chain
Make a paper chain with the names (or pictures) of the people in your family and other things that the Lord has made. Or make a paper chain that illustrates several things in creation that depend on one another. 
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Diorama
A great family project to build and display in your home.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Mobile
Assemble this lovely mobile to remind you of all the Lord's precious gifts to us.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Poem with Hand Motions
A lovely poem about creation with hand motions.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Creation | Seas to Trees Pop-up
Color cut-and-fold pop-up project showing dry land rising out of the water and then growing a tree illustrating Genesis 1:9-13. Sample activity from Creation: reflection of God, Level C, ages 11-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Creation Sequencing Cards
Children can color and cut out these cards, then practice putting them in order from day 1-7.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Story (circle book project)
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Creation | The First Day - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness game and song, separate light and darkness collage, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level A, ages 3-6.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 6

 Creation | The First Day - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness experiment with accompanying video, let there be light folding paper project, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level B, ages 7-10.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Creation | The First Day - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: living in the dark--group blindfold games, video and discussion on the bible, creation and a can of peaches, scripted story discussion, and an illustrated quotation card. Sample Lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level C.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Family Worship: The Story of Creation
Ideas for reading and discussing the story of creation in Genesis 1. Includes suggestions for extending the experience such as going for a nature walk.
Religion Lesson | Ages 3 - 15

 God Said What? The Creation Story
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Memory Verse: Giving Thanks for Creation
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Life Is Eternal
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Overview of Creation Reflection of God Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14
Overview of Creation: reflection of God, Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Prophecies of the Advent
Prophecies of Jesus' advent on earth often use the image of new light dawning in darkness to describe the spiritual impact His birth would have on the world.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Quotes: Giving Thanks for Creation
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Summary of Creation and Thankfulness
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Sun and the Fruit of Creation
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Thankfulness
A Thanksgiving "wreath" to color and display.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Thanking the Lord for Creation
How can your words and actions show the Lord that you appreciate His creation?
Activity | Ages over 15

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Creation: A General View
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 Creation: The Fifth and Sixth Days
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 Creation: The First Four Days
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 Days of Creation Collage Book or Mural
Ideas from an art teacher for making a creation book or mural.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

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

 The Fifth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

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

 The First Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

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

 The Fourth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Meaning of the Tree of Life
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Purpose of Creation
Birth brings a person into the natural world, but God's ultimate purpose is that a person be born again into heavenly life, the life of the spirit.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

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

 The Second Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Seven Days of Creation
An illustrated story of the seven days of creation.
Story | Ages 3 - 7

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

 The Sixth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

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

 The Story of Creation: Family Worship Ideas
Detailed notes on the seven days of creation.
Article | Ages over 18

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

 The Third Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Word Made Flesh
Like Genesis, the Gospel of John begins with creation. While Genesis describes the creation of natural light, John describes a second creation into spiritual light.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Using the Lord’s Creation
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Where Did Everything Come From?
Grandpa explains to Annika and Peter where everything came from.
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 Why Are We Here?
Lesson and activities to explore why we were created - what God intends for us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

Commentary

 

Resurrection, the first      

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'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 of resurrection, which is salvation and eternal life. There is only one resurrection to life. A second does not happen, and is not mentioned anywhere in the Word.

(References: Apocalypse Revealed 851; Revelation 20:5-6)

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #364

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

Study this Passage

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364. (v. 4) And there went out another horse that was red. That this signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed as to good, is clear from the signification of a horse as denoting the Intellectual (concerning which see above, n. 355); in the present case, because the states of those who belong to the church where the Word is, are treated of. By a horse is signified the Intellectual of the men of the church as to the Word. And from the signification of red or reddish, as denoting the quality of a thing as to good, therefore, in the present case, the quality of the understanding of the Word as to good. That reddish here signifies this destroyed as to good, is evident from what immediately follows in this verse, for it is said, it was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, that they should kill one another, and there was given unto him a great sword, by which is signified, that there was thence the extinction of all truth. Because the horses seen by John, were distinguished by colours (for the first appeared white, the second red, the third black, and the fourth pale), and colours signify the qualities of things, therefore something shall first be said here concerning colours. In the heavens there appear colours of every kind, and they derive their origin from the light there, which light, as it immensely excels in brightness and splendour the light of the world, so also do the colours there; and because the light there is from the Sun of heaven, which is the Lord, and is the proceeding Divine, and hence that light is spiritual, therefore also all colours signify things spiritual. And since the proceeding Divine is the Divine good united to the Divine truth, and the Divine good in heaven is manifested by a flaming light, and the Divine truth by a white light, therefore, there are two fundamental colours there, namely, red and white; the red colour derives its origin from the flaming light which proceeds from the Divine good, and the white from the white light which proceeds from the Divine truth; therefore in proportion as colours are derived from red they signify good, and so far as they are derived from white, they signify truth.

(But these things will be more evident from what is said from experience concerning colours in the Arcana Coelestia, namely, that the most beautiful colours appear in the heavens (n. 1053, 1624); that colours in the heavens are from the light there, and that they are the modifications and variations thereof (n. 1042, 1043, 1053, 1624, 3993, 4530, 4922, 4742); that thus they are appearances of truth and good, and signify such things as pertain to intelligence and wisdom (n. 4530, 4922, 1677, 9466); that therefore the precious stones, which were of various colours, in the breast-plate of the ephod, or in the urim and thummim, signified all things of truth from good in heaven and in the church, and that hence the breast-plate in general signified the Divine truth shining forth from the Divine good (n. 9823, 9865, 9868, 9905); and that hence responses were given by variegations and resplendences of light, and at the same time by silent perception, or by a living voice out of heaven (n. 3862); that colours signify good in proportion as they are derived from red, and truth in proportion as they are from white (n. 9467). Concerning the light of heaven, whence and what it is, see the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 126-140, 275.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1042-1043, 1053, 1624, Arcana Coelestia 3862, 3993, Arcana Coelestia 4530, 4677, 4742, Arcana Coelestia 4922, Arcana Coelestia 9466, 9467, 9823, Arcana Coelestia 9865, 9868, 9905; Heaven and Hell 126-140, Heaven and Hell 275; Revelation 6:4; The Apocalypse Explained 355)


[2] Moreover it should be known, that red not only signifies the quality of a thing as to good, but also the quality of a thing as to evil; for that colour exists from the flaming light which is the light from the Sun of heaven, as said above, and it also exists from the flaming [quality] in hell, which is from the fire there, this fire being like a coal fire. Hence the red in heaven is altogether different from the red in hell; the red in heaven is shining and living, whereas the red in hell is hideously obscure and dead; the red of heaven also imparts life, but the red of hell death; the reason is, that the fire from which red is produced is in its origin love, celestial fire, being from celestial love, and infernal fire from infernal love; hence it is that fire in the Word signifies love in both senses (as may be seen, n. 4906, 5071, 5215, 6314, 6832, 7575, 10,747; and in the work concerning, Heaven and Hell, n. 134, 566-575); therefore the red existing therefrom signifies the quality of the love in both senses. This red also, or the red colour of this horse, in the original Greek, is expressed [by a word derived] from fire. From these considerations, and at the same time from the description of this horse in this verse, it is evident why it is that a red horse signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed as to good. That a horse signifies something of this sort, is quite evident from the fact, that the horses were seen when the seals were opened, and it is said that they went out, for horses could not go forth out of the book, but that those things were to be manifested that are signified by horses. That a horse signifies the Intellectual, and colour its quality, has been made well known to me from experience; for spirits who were meditating from the understanding upon some subject have appeared to me at different times riding upon horses, and when I asked them whether they were riding, they said they were not, but that they stood meditating upon the subject; hence it was evident, that riding upon a horse was an appearance representative of the operation of their understanding.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4906, Arcana Coelestia 5071, 5215, 6314, 6832, Arcana Coelestia 7575, Arcana Coelestia 10747; Heaven and Hell 134, Heaven and Hell 566-575)


[3] There is also a place, which is called the assembly of the intelligent and wise, whither many resort for meditation, and when any one enters it, there appear to him horses of various colours, and variously caparisoned, and also chariots, and some riding, and others sitting in the chariots; when asked whether they ride upon horses, and are carried in chariots, they say that they are not, but that they go along meditating; hence also it was evident what is signified by horses, and by chariots. (But upon this subject more may be seen in the small work concerning the White Horse.) From these considerations, it is now evident, why it is that horses were seen by John when the seals of the book were opened, and also what they signify. The reason why those horses were seen, is, because all the spiritual things of the Word are set forth in the sense of its letter by such things as correspond or represent, and thence signify them, and this in order that the Divine may be there in ultimates, and, consequently, in fulness, as has been frequently said above.

[4] That reddish or red signifies the quality of a thing as to good is also evident from the following passages in the Word: In Moses:

Who washes his clothing in wine, and his garment in the blood of grapes. His eyes are redder than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk (Gen. xlix. 11, 12).

These words are in the prophecy of the father Israel concerning Judah, and by Judah is there meant the Lord as to the good of love, and in a relative sense the Lord's celestial kingdom. What is signified by each particular there, in the spiritual sense, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, where they are explained. The Divine wisdom which is from the Divine good, is signified by his eyes being redder than wine; and the Divine intelligence, which is from the Divine truth, by his teeth being whiter than milk.

(References: Genesis 49:11-12)


[5] In Lamentations:

"The Nazarites were whiter than snow, they were whiter than milk, their bones were more ruddy than pearls" (iv. 7).

By the Nazarites the Lord was represented as to the Divine Human (see above, n. 66, 196, at the end), wherefore also, in a relative sense, the good of celestial love was signified by them, because this good proceeds immediately from the Lord's Divine Human; its representative in the church is thus described. The truth of that good is signified by their being whiter than snow, and whiter than milk; and the good of truth, by their bones being more ruddy than pearls. For bones signify truths in their ultimate, thus truths in their whole extent, for in ultimates all things are together, and in fulness.

(References: Lamentations 4:7; The Apocalypse Explained 66, 196)


[6] That they are from good, and also are goods, is signified by their being ruddy. In Zechariah:

"I beheld four chariots going out from between mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; In the second chariot black horses; in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled horses, strong" (vi. 1-3).

That by the red horses is here also signified the quality of the understanding as to good in the beginning, by the black horses the quality of the understanding as to truth in the beginning, by the white horses the quality of the understanding as to truth afterwards, by the grisled horses the quality of the understanding as to truth and good afterwards, and by strong the quality thereof thence as to the power of resisting falsities and evils, may be seen above (n. 355), where the signification of the horse is treated of. In the same prophet almost the same is meant by the "red horse, upon which a man rode, standing among the myrtle trees" (i. 8). Because by red or ruddy is signified the quality of a thing as to good, therefore, red rams' skins were used for the covering over the tabernacle (Exod. xxv. 5; xxvi. 14; xxxv. 7). And, therefore, also the water of separation, by which they were cleansed, was made from the ashes of a red heifer (Numb. xix. 1-10). By the red heifer is signified the good of the natural man, and by the water of separation, made from those ashes, is signified the truth of the natural man; and this was commanded because all cleansing is effected by truths; the particulars also respecting the slaying of it, and respecting the preparation of the water of cleansing from it, involve spiritual things.

(References: Exodus 25:5, 26:14, Exodus 35:7; Numbers 19:1-10; The Apocalypse Explained 355; Zechariah 1:8, 6:1-3)


[7] Because red signifies the quality of a thing as to good, therefore, also names and things, which are named from the same expression in the original tongue, signify the good in which they originate. Red, in the original tongue, is called Adam, whence the name Adam, and also the name Edom, and hence also man is called Adam, the ground Adama, and the ruby Odam; thus, those names and those things are from red. By Adam is signified the Most Ancient Church, which was the church that was in the good of love; the same is signified by man, and also by ground in the spiritual sense, where celestial good is treated of. That Edom was named from red may be seen in Gen. xxv. 30; and hence the truth of the good of the natural man is signified by him. That the ruby is also named from red, may be seen in Exod. xxviii. 17; xxxix. 10; Ezek. xxviii. 13; hence it is that by the ruby is signified the truth of celestial good. (That Adam signifies the Most Ancient Church, which was the celestial church, or the church that was in the good of love to the Lord, may be seen, n. 478, 479; that man signifies the church as to good, n. 4287, 7424, 7523; that ground also signifies the same, n. 566, 10,570; that Edom, because he was named from red, signifies the truth of the good of the natural man, n. 3300, 3322; and that the ruby signifies the truth of celestial good, n. 9865.) Because red signifies the quality of a thing as to good, therefore, in the opposite sense, it signifies the quality of a thing as to evil, which is the opposite of good, consequently, good destroyed. In this sense red is mentioned in the following passages: In Isaiah:

"If your sins are as scarlet, they shall become white as snow; if they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool" (i. 18).

And in Nahum:

"The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in purple; in a fire of torches are his chariots, the chariots raged in the streets; they ran to and fro in the broad ways, the appearance of them as of torches" (ii. 3, 4).

In that sense also the dragon is called red (Apoc. xii. 3); which will be explained in what follows.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 478-479, 566, Arcana Coelestia 3300, 3322, Arcana Coelestia 4287, Arcana Coelestia 7424, 7523, Arcana Coelestia 9865, Arcana Coelestia 10570; Exodus 28:17, Exodus 39:10; Ezekiel 28:13; Genesis 25:30; Isaiah 1:18; Nahum 2:3-4; Revelation 12:3)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 360, 365, 366, 370, 374, 381, 400, 418, 529, 552, 558, 573, 575, 625, 657, 706, 714, 923, 1155


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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