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 Christianity 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...

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.

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

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 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...

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

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.

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;...

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 Revealed #567

Apocalypse Revealed (Rogers translation)      

Study this Passage

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567. REVELATION: CHAPTER 13

1. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on its horns ten jewels, 1 and on its heads a blasphemous name. 2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, whose feet were like those of a bear, and its mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave it its power, its throne, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of its heads appearing as though fatally wounded, and its mortal injury was healed. And all the earth went marveling after the beast. 4 Then they worshiped the dragon which gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who can fight against it?" 5 And it was given a mouth speaking great and blasphemous things, and it was given authority to do so for forty-two months. 6 Then it opened its mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and against His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted it to make war with the saints and overcome them. And it was given authority over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship it, all whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 Anyone who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; anyone who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

11. Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and it had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And it exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose mortal injury was healed. 13 It also performs great signs, so as to even make fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men, 14 and to lead astray those who dwell on the earth, because of the signs which it was granted to do in the presence of the beast, telling those dwelling upon the earth to make an image of the beast that was injured by the sword and lived. 15 It was also granted it to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might speak and cause whoever does not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 And it causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive from it a mark on their right hand and on their foreheads, 17 so that no one can buy or sell if he does not have the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of its name. 18 Here is wisdom: let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and its number is 666.

THE SPIRITUAL MEANING

The Contents of the Whole Chapter

The dragon continues to be the subject in this chapter, which describes the doctrine and faith meant by the dragon. The character of that doctrine and faith among the laity, and then its character among the clergy. The beast rising up out of the sea describes the doctrine and faith among the laity (verses 1-10), and the beast coming up out of the earth the doctrine and faith among the clergy (verses 11-17).

Lastly it describes the clergy's falsification of the Word's truth (verse 18).

The Contents of the Individual Verses:

Verse ContentsSpiritual Meaning
1. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea,The laity in the Protestant Reformed churches who are caught up in the doctrine and faith of the dragon regarding God and salvation.
having seven headsThe irrationality resulting from their absolute falsities.
and ten horns,Their great power.
and on its horns ten jewels, 2 Their power to falsify many of the Word's truths.
and on its heads a blasphemous name.Their denial of the Lord's Divine humanity and affirmation of their church's doctrine, drawn not from the Word but from their own intelligence.
2. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard,Their heresy destructive of the church, being founded on the Word's truths falsified,
whose feet were like those of a bear,full of misconceptions taken from the literal sense of the Word, read but not understood.
and its mouth like the mouth of a lion.Their reasonings based on falsities as though on truths.
And the dragon gave it its power, its throne, and great authority.This heresy prevails and reigns as a result of its acceptance by the laity.
3. And I saw one of its heads appearing as though fatally wounded,Their doctrine of faith alone does not accord with the Word, in which works are so often commanded.
and its mortal injury was healed.A remedy for this explained.
And all the earth went marveling after the beast.That doctrine and faith then accepted with joy.
4. Then they worshiped the dragon which gave authority to the beast;Their acknowledgment that the doctrine is such as declared by the leaders of the church and its teachers, who have caused the doctrine to prevail as a result of its acceptance by the general populace.
and they worshiped the beast,An acknowledgment by the general populace that the doctrine is a sacred truth.
saying, "Who is like the beast? Who can fight against it?"The preeminence of that doctrine because no one can dispute it.
5. And it was given a mouth speaking great and blasphemous things,It teaches evils and falsities.
and it was given authority to do so for forty-two months.The scope to teach and practice the evils and falsities accompanying that doctrine even to the end of that church, until the beginning of a new one.
6. Then it opened its mouth in blasphemies against God and His name,Their assertions, which are scandalous, against the Divine itself and the Lord's Divine humanity, and at the same time against everything that the church has from the Word by which the Lord is worshiped.
and against His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.Scandalous assertions against the Lord's celestial church and against heaven.
7. It was granted it to make war with the saints and overcome them.They attacked the Word's Divine truths and overturned them.
And it was given authority over every tribe, tongue, and nation.Their consequent dominion over everything connected with the church, over everything pertaining to its doctrine and over everything pertaining to its life.
8. All who dwell on the earth will worship it, all whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the LambThey all acknowledged that heresy as a sacred tenet of the church, all but those who believed in the Lord.
slain from the foundation of the world.The Lord's Divine humanity unacknowledged from the inception of the church.
9. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.Let people who wish to be wise pay attention to this.
10. Anyone who leads into captivity shall go into captivity;Someone who uses that heresy to draw others away from believing rightly and living rightly is drawn by his own falsities and evils into hell.
anyone who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.Someone who uses falsities to destroy another's soul is destroyed by falsities and perishes.
Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.Through the temptations or trials occasioned by these falsities a person of the Lord's New Church is examined to discover his character in respect to his life and faith.
11. Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth,The clergy who are caught up in the dragon's doctrine and faith regarding God and salvation.
and it had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.They quote the Word in speaking, teaching and writing as though it were the Lord's Divine truth, and yet it is truth falsified.
12. And it exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence,They have defended the dogmas, and the dogmas prevail in consequence of it.
and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose mortal injury was healed.By supporting arguments they have established that what the general populace has accepted be acknowledged as a sacred tenet of the church.
13. It also performs great signs,Testifications that their teachings are true, even though they are false.
so as to even make fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men,Assertions that their falsities are true.
14. and to lead astray those who dwell on the earth, because of the signs which it was granted to do in the presence of the beast,Through their testifications and assertions they lead people in the church into errors.
telling those dwelling upon the earth to make an image of the beast that was injured by the sword and lived.They induce people in the church to accept as doctrine that faith is the only means of salvation, for the reason stated.
15. It was also granted it to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might speakThey were permitted to use the Word to defend the doctrine, so as to cause the doctrine to be seemingly animated by it.
and cause whoever does not worship the image of the beast to be killed.They pronounce damnation on people who do not acknowledge their doctrine of faith as a sacred doctrine of the church.
16. And it causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave,All the people in Protestant Reformed church, of whatever condition, degree of education, or degree of intelligence.
to receive from it a mark on their right hand and on their foreheads,No one is acknowledged as a Protestant Reformed Christian but one who accepts that doctrine in faith and love.
17. so that no one can buy or sell if he does not have the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of its name.No one allowed to teach from the Word but one who acknowledges that doctrine and swears to a belief in it and love for it, and to such as is in conformity with it.
18. Here is wisdom:From what we have said and explained in this chapter, it is the part of a wise person to see and understand the nature of the doctrine and faith among the clergy regarding God and salvation.
let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast,One who is enlightened by the Lord can discern the character of the arguments the clergy use from the Word in defense of that doctrine and faith.
for it is the number of a man,The character of the Word and so of the church.
and its number is 666.Their character being this, that by them all the Word's truth has been falsified.



THE EXPOSITION

13:1

And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. This symbolizes the laity in the Protestant Reformed churches who are caught up in the doctrine and faith of the dragon regarding God and salvation.

The nature and character of the faith of the dragon may be seen in no. 537. The same faith continues to be the subject in this chapter, and the beast here that John saw rising up out of the sea means that faith among the laity, whereas the beast from the earth, described in verse 11, means that faith among the clergy.

That the dragon continues to be the subject here is apparent from the following statements in this chapter: that the dragon gave to the beast rising up out of the sea its power, its throne, and great authority (verse 2); that they worshiped the dragon which gave authority to the beast (verse 4); and, concerning the beast coming up out of the earth, that it spoke like a dragon (verse 11); and that it exercised all the authority of the first beast in the presence of the dragon (verse 12).

The laity are the people meant by the beast from the sea, and the clergy those meant by the beast from the earth, because the sea symbolizes the outer aspect of the church, and the land its inner aspect (no. 398 and elsewhere); and the laity are concerned with the external elements of the church's doctrine, while the clergy are concerned with its internal elements. That is why the beast from the earth is later called a false prophet. 3

That they are people in the Protestant Reformed churches is because the Protestant Reformed are the subject to the end of chapter 16, while Roman Catholics are the subject in chapters 17, 18. Then the subject after that is the Last Judgment and finally the New Church.

(References: Revelation 4, 6, Revelation 13:1-10, 13:2, 13:3, 13:4, 13:5, 13:6, 13:7, 13:8, 13:9, 13:10, 13:11-12, 13:11-17, 13:12, 13:13, 13:14, 13:15, 13:16, 13:17, 13:18)


[2] These people were seen as beasts because the dragon is a beast, and because a beast in the Word symbolizes a person in respect to his affections - harmless and useful beasts a person in respect to good affections, and harmful and useless ones a person in respect to evil affections. People of the church are in general called sheep, therefore, and a company of them a flock, and one who teaches is called a shepherd.

That is also why the Word in respect to its power, affection, understanding and wisdom is described above in chapter four by four living creatures - a lion, a calf, an eagle and a human being - and an understanding of the Word by horses in chapter six.

The reason is that in the spiritual world a person's affections look at a distance like animals, as we have often said before; and regarded in themselves, animals are no more than embodiments of natural affections, while people are embodiments not only of natural affections, but also at the same time of spiritual affections.

(References: Revelation 4, Revelation 6)


[3] That animals mean people in respect to their affections can be seen from the following passages:

You... will cause to fall a kindly rain. You will confirm Your inheritance... The beast, Your congregation, 4 shall dwell in it. (Psalms 68:9-10)

...every wild beast of the forest is Mine, the beasts on a thousand mountains. I know every bird of the mountains; the beast of My fields is with Me. (Psalms 50:10-11)

...Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon... ...its height was exalted... All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs, and under its branches all the beasts of the field brought forth their young, and in its shade all great nations made their home. (Ezekiel 31:3-6, cf. 31:10, 31:13, Daniel 4:10-16)

In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beast of the field, and with the bird of the heavens... And I will betroth you to Me forever. (Hosea 2:18-19)

Rejoice and be glad! ...Do not be afraid, you beasts of My fields, for the habitations of the wilderness have become grassy meadows. (Joel 2:21-23)

In that day there shall be a great tumult... Judah... will fight against Jerusalem... And such also shall be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, and the donkey, and every beast... And it shall come to pass that the remnant... shall go up (to Jerusalem). (Zechariah 14:13-16)

Birds shall abominate him, and every beast of the earth shall disdain him. (Isaiah 18:6)

...you, son of man..., "Say to every winged bird and to every beast of the field, '...Gather together... to My sacrifice... on the mountains of Israel... (Thus) I will set My glory among the nations.'" (Ezekiel 39:17-21)

(Jehovah) gathers the outcasts of Israel... Every beast of My fields, come... (Isaiah 56:8-9)

(Jehovah) will destroy Assyria... There shall lie down in her midst every wild beast of the nation, both the desert owl and the screech owl in her pomegranates... (Zephaniah 2:13-14)

(The sheep) were scattered without a shepherd, and they became food for every wild beast of the field... (Ezekiel 34:5, cf. 34:8)

I will cast you out on the face of the field, and cause to dwell on you every bird of the heavens. And with you I will satiate the wild beasts of the whole earth. (Ezekiel 32:4; see also 5:17; 29:5; 33:27; 39:4, Jeremiah 15:3; 16:4; 19:7; 27:5-6)

An enemy reproaches Jehovah... Do not deliver the life of (the) turtledove to the beast! (Psalms 74:18-19)

"I saw in... vision... four... beasts coming up from the sea... The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings... ...a second, like a bear... ...(a third) like a leopard... ...and a fourth..., dreadful... (Daniel 7:2-7)

...the Spirit drove (Jesus) out into the wilderness. And He was... with the beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. (Mark 1:12-13)

(References: Daniel 4:7-13; Ezekiel 39:17-22; Joel 2:21-22; Psalms 50:10)


[4] He was not with beasts, but with devils, who are here meant by beasts.

So also in other places where beasts and wild beasts are mentioned, such as Isaiah 35:9; 43:20; Jeremiah 12:4, 8-10; Ezekiel 8:10; 34:23, 25, 28; 38:18-20; Hosea 4:2-3; 13:8; Exodus 23:28-30; Leviticus 26:6; Deuteronomy 7:22; 32:24. Beasts in these places symbolize people in respect to their affections.

(References: Daniel 2:37-38; Habakkuk 2:17; Joel 1:16, 1:18, 1:20; Psalms 8:6-8, Psalms 80:13, 104:10-11, 104:14, 104:20, 104:25, 148:7, 148:10)


[5] Man and beast mentioned together in the following passages symbolize a person in respect to his spiritual affection and in respect to his natural affection: Jeremiah 7:20; 21:6; 27:5; 31:27; 32:43; 33:10-12; 36:29; 50:3; Psalms 36:6; Numbers 18:15.

All the animals that were sacrificed symbolized good affections. So, too, animals that were eaten. And the converse animals that were not to be eaten (Leviticus 20:25-26).

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Footnotes:

12. The word translated as "jewels" here means diadems or crowns in the original Greek and Latin, but the writer's definitions of the term elsewhere make plain that he regularly and consistently interpreted it to mean jewels or gems.

3Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:104. The beast, Your congregation, reflects the Latin translation of the Bible by Sebastian Schmidt, which includes the phrase translated as Your congregation in parentheses as an alternate reading. This is actually the preferred reading, but "the beast" accords with Roman Catholic tradition.

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(References: Ezekiel 14:13, 14:17, 14:19, 25:13, 32:13, 36:11, 39:17-22; Jonah 3:7-8; Revelation 6; Zechariah 2:3-4, 2:4, 8:9-10; Zephaniah 1:2-3)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 323, 572, 575, 579, 594, 600, 606, 694, 701, 723, 833, 869

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 88


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 3


Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation.


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