The Bible

 

Genesis 1

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

Genesis 1: The Creation and Development of our Spiritual Life      

By Rev. William Woofenden

The first book of the Bible is "Genesis", which means "creation". It's a very, very ancient story - one of the oldest stories of humankind, and it's full of symbolic meaning that - still - gets to the core of what it is to be truly human.

The first three days of creation describe the development of the natural degree of man's life. They come first as a preparation for the opening of the spiritual degree of our minds. The creation of the grass, herbs, and trees took place on the third day, and constitutes the third step in regeneration. The creation of the fowl and fish was on the fifth day. Between these on the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars were created.

From the beginning man had light, for all light is from the Lord, but it was not direct light. He was not at first in the clear light of the sun, moon, and stars, which are set in the firmament. The firmament is the internal man. There is a preparation that has to be made before the internal man is opened. At first we think we see the truth and do good from ourselves. Hence only inanimate things are produced. All truth and good are from the Lord who alone is truth and goodness, and only when we come to acknowledge this can we have true love from him, true faith in Him, and true knowledge of spiritual things. These are not seen from the external or natural degree of life.

Again we should note a change of language. It was said, "Let the earth bring forth" the grass, herb, and fruit trees. Now and through the remaining days it is said that "God created." Man has a part to play in his regeneration. There must be in his mind forms into which the warmth of love and the light of faith and of spiritual truths can flow.

When the mind is so prepared, influx from the Lord can be received, with greater power. "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." It should be noted that it is the waters that are commanded to bring forth the moving creature that hath life, and that it is not the seas but the waters which are to produce the living creatures. The seas represent the gathering together of knowledges, but by the "waters" are meant the spiritual truths in the mind. So in the Lord's words to the woman of Samaria, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (John 4:14). In Ezekiel it is the "waters" issuing from the sanctuary that give life (Ezekiel 47:1). The Psalmist writes, "Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters" (Psalm 104:3). It is not in natural waters that the Lord lays the beams of His chambers. His chambers are the interior principles of His church; the beams give them support and strength. These are said to be laid in the waters because they rest and have their foundation in the genuine truths of the Word. So in Revelation the Word itself is described as a pure river of water of life.

The will faculty in man embraces all his affections and is the internal man. When the sun, moon, and stars—love, faith, and knowledges of spiritual truth—are set in this heaven and begin to impart their warmth and light to the external man, enabling him to think and act from these higher and purer principles, then the external man is gifted with a new life. There may be no apparent change in his outward conduct—he may already be living a moral life—but the motives that direct his acts will be wholly different. And it is the motive that gives character to the act as well as to the actor. He no longer thinks of the truths that he has learned, either natural or spiritual, as the product of his own mind nor of the good, that he does as the result of his own efforts, but thinks of them as wholly from the Lord, who alone is the source of all true light and life.

Before one recognizes clearly that all good and truth come from the Lord, he can bring forth only inanimate things, the grass, herb, and fruit tree, however good and useful these may be. But when he is enlightened by genuine love and faith, his knowledges become the basis for the development of spiritual life and God can create in him the living creatures that have life. First the fishes are created; then the fowl of the air. There is a difference between fishes and birds. The fishes, living in water, represent our affections for natural truths. The great whales, the largest of living creatures, are affections for the great general principles that control the mind. The principle may be either true or false. Of Pharaoh or Egypt it is written, "Thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou earnest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouled at their rivers" (Ezekiel 32:2) Here is pictured a ruling false principle from the natural degree of the mind — Egypt. That is, when the ruling principle is false, it will be a monster making the truths in the mind obscure like filthy or muddy waters.

Another example of the meaning of the whale in a bad sense is in the story of Jonah. When the principle is false it swallows up for a time all the truths that are in the mind. This is the whale swallowing Jonah the prophet. But Divine truth cannot be used by a false principle so as to become a part of its organic structure. Nor can the Divine truth perish. So the whale could not digest Jonah, nor could the prophet perish, but the whale vomited him up.

Spiritually there are whales trying to swallow prophets today, evil principles that try to use Divine truths to attain their ends. In the creation story, however, the whales are affections for the principles of natural truth for the sake of uses to the spiritual man. There is one source of genuine love. The creatures of the fifth day are living because they are animated by this love. Birds fly in the air above the earth. They have the power of flight and enjoy broader views. They represent affections for truth that rise above the natural. They are the thoughts that look at life from the heights of spiritual perception, ideas about the Lord, heaven, and spiritual things. Isaiah writes, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Isaiah 40:31). Birds represent spiritual intelligence, the power to lift us up to understand spiritual truth in heavenly light, through which truth the Lord can impart to us something of the Divine intelligence. So at the baptism of the Lord "The heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him" (Matthew 3:16). So a new knowledge of heavenly life is given, a new perception of our possibilities, and in this higher intelligence a basis for further development is laid. This further development is pictured in the creation of the living creatures upon the earth. These are symbols of the affections. Here, too, it is said, "Let the earth bring forth" and also "And God made the beast of the earth." The creation of living animals on the earth and of man in the image and likeness of God marks the completion of the six days of creation—the six stages in regeneration. Man has first to learn what is to be believed and done and then to do it.

It is the office of the understanding to hear the Word and of the will to do it. In this way the truths are made our own, and the will and understanding make one mind. And when one begins to act from love as well as from faith, he becomes a spiritual man, who is called an image of God, and is given dominion over all things. Thus all things natural and spiritual come to be a delight to him and serviceable to him. To be an image and likeness of God one must act from impulses similar to those of God. This he cannot do until he comes into the final state of regeneration. Then he will not act from selfish motives, as does the natural man, nor from mere obedience to truth, but from love to the Lord and the neighbor. When these loves are developed and rule, to them is given the dominion over all subordinate affections and the fruits of all the growths of intelligence. These are what make man to be a man and cause him to be in the image and likeness of his Maker. Each step in the formation of a truly human character the Lord saw and pronounced good, but of the work of the sixth day it is said, "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."

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

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgement 20

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


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

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

Related 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

Bible Word Meanings

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
When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

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

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

earth
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...

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" represents a state where truth is lacking. Here's a cogent passage...

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.

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
In the Word, “light” in the highest sense represents Divine Truth: knowledge, ideas, understanding that come to us from the Lord. In lesser degrees...

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...

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
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...

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,...

grass
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...

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
We tend to think of "fruit" in two ways in natural language. One is as food that grows on trees and vines, sweet and delicious,...

tree
'Trees,' in general, signify the perceptions when discussing the celestial self, but when related to the spiritual church, they signify knowledges. A person in the...

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.

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...

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;...

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;...

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 number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

life
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

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...

living
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

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
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

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...

male
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:...

male and 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:...

female
Female signifies good.

given
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...

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...

Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

The videos shown here are provided courtesy of our friends at the Swedenborg Foundation. You can find out more about them here: swedenborg.com.


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The Biblical creation story is about the re-creation of our minds. Learn how the first signs of life on the third day symbolize heavenly ideas taking root in our lives.


Swedenborg 101: The Basic Nature of Everything - Swedenborg and Life

In this episode, host Curtis Childs and featured guests explore what eighteenth-century Christian mystic and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg learned during his mystical explorations of the spiritual world. They delve into his life, spiritual awakening, and resulting philosophies about the relationship between this life and the afterlife.


What the 7 Days of Creation Mean - Swedenborg and Life

Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Is there a religious call to exploit nature? Here, Swedenborg tackles a bit of text that has led some people to believe just that.

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

 Men and Women Are Different
Studies confirm that differences between men and women extend beyond the physical body, affecting engagement on all levels of life.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 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

 Qualities of the Lord
Look at colored pictures of stories from the Word. Using a word bank, identify the quality of the Lord shown in each picture.
Project | Ages 9 - 14

 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

 

258 - The Heaven Project      

By Jonathan Rose

This video is a part of the Spirit and Life Bible Study series, whose purpose is to look at the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible through a Swedenborgian lens.

Title: The Heaven Project

Topic: Salvation

Summary: Heaven is the ultimate purpose behind creation. It is an infinite and eternal project involving ever increasing numbers, variety, and connections, to embody God with greater and greater resolution. Yet it also gives us more and more peace.

Use the reference links below to follow along in the Bible as you watch.

References:
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
Psalms 126
Matthew 10:29-30; 13:23, 47
Mark 10:29
Genesis 1:27-28; 13:16; 22:17
Isaiah 9:6-7
Job 8:7; 15:15
1 Kings 8:27
Luke 16:13-16
John 14:2-3; 12:24
Romans 12:1-5
1 Corinthians 12:12, 27
Psalms 132:8-14

To continue browsing while you watch, play the video in a new window.

Spirit and Life Bible Study broadcast from 4/13/2016. The complete series is available at: www.spiritandlifebiblestudy.com

The Bible

 

Matthew 13:23

King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Matthew 13      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verses 1-9. From the knowledges of good and truth, and the doctrine thence derived, the Lord teaches that the reception of His Word is fourfold.

Verse 4. First, as it is received by those who have no concern about truth, being in fantasies and false persuasions which pervert it.

Verses 5, 6. Secondly, as it is received by those who have a concern about truth, but not for its own sake, thus not interiorly, therefore the truth perishes, being adulterated by the lusts of self-love.

Verse 7. Thirdly, as it is received by those who are in the cravings of evil, which suffocate the truth.

Verse 8. Fourthly, as it is received by those who from the Lord love the truths which are in the Word, and from Him do them.

Verse 9. Which fourfold reception of the Word ought to be well attended to, both as to doctrine and practice, by all who are of the church.

Verses 10, 11. Otherwise the Word will be understood only according to its literal or external sense, and not according to its spiritual and internal sense, which latter sense is revealed to those who are in the good of charity and the truth of faith from the Lord, but not to them, lest they should profane it.

Verse 12. They, therefore, who are in the good of charity and the truth of faith, are accepted in heaven, and become angels, every one according to the quality and quantity of intelligence and wisdom which he has acquired to himself in the world; whereas they, who are in falsities derived from evil, in the other life are deprived of all truths.

Verses 13, 14. For the same reason these latter believe only in the letter of the Word, because they have separated faith from life, and instruction from obedience, as had been predicted.

Verse 15. And this on account of their defiled loves, which infect both the will and the understanding, insomuch that it is dangerous for them to see the truth, and especially to receive it interiorly, because their unclean loves would falsify and profane it.

Verse 16. But it is otherwise with those who are in the goods of charity and the truths of faith from the Lord, because they understand, believe, obey, and live according to those truths.

Verse 17. For all who are in the truths of doctrine, and in the good of life agreeable thereto, love to understand and perceive the interior truths proceeding from the Lord, and which He opened when in the world.

Verses 18, 19. To them therefore it is given to perceive, that when the Word is received by those who have no concern about truth, it is immediately darkened and deprived of life by infernal spirits, so that it produces no effect on the life or love.

Verses 20, 21. And that when it is received by those who have a concern about truth, but not for its own sake, thus not interiorly, it excites indeed external delight, arising from external affection, but whereas it has no place in the will, it cannot stand in the assault of evils and falsities.

Verse 22. And when it is received by those who are in the cravings of evil, it is suffocated and rendered unfruitful by worldly anxieties and the lust of gain.

Verse 23. But that when it is received by those who from the Lord love the truths which are in the Word, it affects first the will, and thence the understanding, and thus the life, in each according to reception.

Verses 24, 25. For the Lord by His Word is willing to implant Truth Divine in all who are of the church, but whilst men lead a natural life, or the life of the world, then evils from hell secretly, or whilst they are ignorant, insinuate and implant falsities.

Verse 26. And when truths grow, and good is produced, falsities from evil are intermixed.

Verses 27, 28. Which being perceived by those who are in truths from good, they complain, and are instructed that those falsities are from evil in the natural man.

Verses 28, 29. And that they must not be separated nor ejected, until truths derived from good are increased, because in such case truth derived from good and its increase would also perish.

Verse 30. Therefore the separation of falsities derived from evil and their ejection cannot be effected, until it is the last state of the church, for then the falsities of evil are separated from the truths of good, and the falsities of evil are delivered to hell, and the truths of good are conjoined to heaven, or, what is the same thing, the men who are in them.

Verses 31, 32. For the church in man begins from a little spiritual good by truth, because at that time he thinks to do good from himself; but as truth is conjoining to love, it increases, and when it is conjoined, then things intellectual are multiplied in scientifics.

Verse 33. Nevertheless, this increase cannot have place but by spiritual combat, which is that of the false with truth, and of truth with the false; in which case the false being separated, truth is purified, being conjoined to charity, so that man acts no longer from the truth of faith, but from the good of charity.

Verses 34, 35, 36. That these processes of spiritual life lie concealed under the letter of the Word, and are not revealed to those who are in evils and falsities, but only to those who are in goods and truths.

Verses 37, 38. To whom it is given to perceive from the Lord, that all Divine Truth is from Him, that the church is every where, that Divine Truth is with those who are of the church, and that falsities are with those who are in evil.

Verse 39. Also that the evil have falsities from evil, which is from hell, and that at the last time and state of the church, Divine Truth separates.

Verses 40, 41, 42. And that on this occasion the Divine Truths from the Lord are about to remove those who hinder separation, and who live in evil, into hell, where they are in self-love, in hatred, and in revenge, and in every thing direful arising from evils and falsities.

Verse 43. When they who have acknowledged the Lord, and done His precepts, will live in heavenly loves, and in the joys thereof in heaven.

Verse 44. For these alienate the things of their own propriums, that they may procure to themselves the Divine Truth which is in the church of the Lord, and its doctrine, however obscure it may appear.

Verses 45, 46. They alienate also all things of self-love, that they may procure to themselves that Divine Truth more especially, which relates to the acknowledgement of the Lord.

Verses 47, 48. And that thus, at the time of the last judgement, goods and evils may be separated, and the goods be conjoined to their proper truths, and the evils to their proper falsities.

Verses 49, 50. At which time, they who have lived in the exercise of charity from the love of what is just and true, will be taken up in to heaven; and they who have lived in things contrary to charity, will be let down into hell.

Verse 51. That the men of the church ought to enquire diligently in themselves, whether they comprehend the above interior truths of heaven, so as to be in an affirmative principle concerning them.

Verse 52. In which case they will become images and likenesses of the Lord, possessing from Him internal goods and truths in external.

Verses 53, 54. When the Lord had thus taught interior goods and truths to those of His internal church, He applies Himself to those of the external church, who are in external or natural good and truth, and excites enquiry in them concerning Himself.

Verses 55, 56. But whereas they can see nothing in Him but His Human [principle], and not His Divine, they are perplexed about Him.

Verse 57. And also reject Him because the doctrine of spiritual good and truth cannot be received by those who are in mere natural good and truth.

Verse 58. Neither can such be fully regenerated, because they do not acknowledge the Lord's Divine Humanity.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 29, 1017, 1288, 2371, 2636, 9987

Apocalypse Revealed 610, 934

Doctrine of Life 2, 90

True Christian Religion 347, 376, 483


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 108, 239, 250, 785

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Bible Word Meanings

the Word
In general, we tend to be very aware of how knowing what's true leads to doing what is good. That starts as children, with parents...

word
'Sayings' denotes persuasion. 'Sayings,' when related to Jehovah, signify informing or instructing.

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.


 A Sower Went Out to Sow
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Becoming Good Ground
Worship Talk | Ages over 15

 Birds in the Word
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Deeper Meaning to the Bible
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Heaven Is Like a Dragnet
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Heaven Is Like a Dragnet with Quote
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Heaven Is Like a Mustard Seed
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Heaven Is Like a Mustard Seed with Quote
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Heaven Is Like Leaven
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Heaven Is Like Leaven with Quote
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Kingdom of Heaven is Like Treasure
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Kingdom of Heaven is Like Treasure with Quote
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Kingdom of Heaven Like a Dragnet
Make a net filled with fish to picture the way the Lord wants to gather us all into heaven.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Kingdom of Heaven Matching Cards
Match each picture card with a card supplying a quote from the New Testament and another card summarizing the spiritual meaning.
Activity | Ages 11 - 17

 Kingdom of Heaven Mural
Make a mural of pictures showing the various ways the Lord describes the kingdom of heaven. Each of these parables tells us something different about what we can do to prepare for life in heaven.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Kingdom of Heaven Parables - Cards to Hand Out
Activity | Ages 11 - 17

 Kingdom of Heaven (talk about picture)
This color picture illustrates seven kingdom of heaven parables given in Matthew 13. A useful visual aid for younger children as you discuss these parables and how they help us follow the Lord.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 Memory Verse: Seeds of Truth
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: The Kingdom of Heaven
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Morality Rooted in Divine Law
Morality that has its roots in religion provides principles that will not yield to expediency.
Article | Ages over 18

 Overview of Five Parables of Heaven Levels A, B, C Ages 3-14
Overview of the Youth Journey Program Five Parables of Heaven featuring the parables of the Sower, Pearl of Great Price, Wise and Foolish Virgins, Workers in the Vineyard and The Great Supper. For ages 3-14, Levels A, B and C.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Parable of the Sower
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Parable of the Sower Collage
Use pebbles, seeds, thorns, etc. to make a collage to illustrate this parable.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Parable of the Sower Experiment
An experiment designed to simulate the planting conditions in the parable of the sower.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Parables About Heaven
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven
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

 Pearl of Great Price
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Pearl of Great Price with Quote
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Adults: Prayers for His Kingdom
Activity | Ages over 18

 Prayers for Children: Seeds of Truth
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Teens: Kingdom of Heaven
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Prayers for Teens: Seeds of Truth
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Quotes: Seeds of Truth
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: The Kingdom of Heaven
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Receiving the Lord's Word
 What are some of the seeds of truth that you have found in the Lord’s Word? 
Activity | Ages over 15

 Tares Among the Wheat
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Tares Among the Wheat with Quote
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Church
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Kingdom of Heaven
The way to build the kingdom of heaven within your mind and heart is to do the activities that are represented in these parables on a day-by-day basis
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Kingdom of Heaven
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Kingdom of Heaven (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Kingdom of Heaven (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Kingdom of Heaven (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Lord as the Sower
Make a picture of the Lord with His arms reaching out to give us seeds of truth.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Lord Is Like a Sower
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Meaning of the Wheat and the Tares
Look at this list of possible interpretations of this parable and check all that you think apply.
Activity | Ages 11 - 17

 The Number Twelve in the Word Crossword Puzzle
Discover times when the number twelve appears throughout the Word.
Activity | Ages 9 - 13

 The Parable of the Sower
We must keep our minds clean and ready for new seeds, so that good things can grow there.
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 The Parable of the Sower
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

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

 The Parable of the Sower and Your Life
Look at aspects of this parable and think about how they may apply to your life.
Activity | Ages 11 - 14

 The Parable of the Tares
"Good and evil uncomfortably coexisting is the reality of life. And this story describes how we are to deal with certain evils in our lives."
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Pearl of Great Price
We can find something beautiful and precious if we are willing to work for it.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Sower
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Sower - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices on the parable of the sower: song and video to help act the story, a collage of seeds on different grounds, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample from the Youth Journey Program Five Parables of Heaven, Level A, ages 3-6.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 6

 The Sower - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices on the parable of the sower: create a sower story bag, plant actual seeds, watch a song video, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample from the Youth Journey Program Five Parables of Heaven, Level B, ages 7-10.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sower - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices on the parable of the sower: role play game comparing kinds of ground to kinds of listening, practice cultivating good spiritual ground, scripted story discussion, and a read-reflect-respond activity on having ears and a voice. Sample from the Youth Journey Program Five Parables of Heaven, Level C, ages 11-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 True Believer and Humble Servant
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 What Do Plants Need?
What happens if a plant does not have water, warmth, or light? Who provides these for plants and for us? These are just some of the ways that the Lord helps plants grow. 
Activity | Ages 4 - 10


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