The Bible

 

Genesis 1

King James Version         

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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

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

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

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


References from Swedenborg's 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
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
"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...

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Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 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

 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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #1057

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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1057. They whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. That this signifies that they are those who do not acknowledge the Lord's Divine power over heaven and earth, but as transferred to some vicar, and from him to his vicars, is evident from the signification of names not written in the book of life, as denoting those who are not received in heaven (concerning which see n. 199, 222, 299). And because those who do not acknowledge the Lord's Divine power over heaven and earth are not received in heaven, therefore these are they who are meant; and from the signification of the foundation of the world, as denoting from the establishment of the church. By the foundation of the world, in the literal or natural sense, is meant the creation of the world; but in the internal spiritual sense the establishment of the church is meant. For the spiritual sense treats of spiritual things; and the natural sense of the natural things that pertain to the world. Hence it is that by the creation of heaven and earth, in the first chapter of Genesis, in the spiritual sense, is described the new creation or establishment of the first and Most Ancient Church on this earth. That this is described by the creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, where the things in that chapter are explained. Moreover, by creating, in the Word, is signified to reform, and by Creator, the Lord as Reformer and Saviour. That to create signifies to reform, and that by the creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis is described, in the spiritual sense, the establishment of the Most Ancient Church, may be seen above (n. 294, 739).

(References: Genesis 1:1; Revelation 17:8; The Apocalypse Explained 199, 222, 294, 299, The Apocalypse Explained 739)


[2] The establishment of the church is also meant by the foundation of the world in these passages in the Word:

"The king shall say to them on the right hand, Come and possess as a heritage the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. xxv. 34).

Jesus praying said, "Father, because thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world" (John xvii. 24).

Jesus said, "The blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, shall be required of this generation" (Luke xi. 30).

That the establishment of the church is meant by the foundation of the world, is evident from the passages in the Word where it is said to found the earth, the founding of the earth, and the foundation of the earth, by which is not meant the foundation or creation of the earth, but the establishment or creation of the church upon the earth. As in Zechariah:

"Jehovah who stretcheth out the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man in the midst of him" (xii. 1).

Here by stretching out the heaven, and founding the earth, is not meant the stretching out of the visible heaven, and founding the habitable earth, but the church as to its internals, which are called spiritual, and as to its externals, which are called natural. To found the latter and stretch out the former is to establish; therefore it is also said, forming the spirit of man in the midst of him, which signifies his reformation and regeneration.

(References: John 17:24; Luke 11:50; Matthew 15:34, 25:34; Zechariah 12:1)


[3] In Isaiah:

"Attend to me, O Jacob and Israel, my hand hath founded the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens" (xlviii. 12, 13).

By founding the earth with the hand, and spanning the heavens with the right hand, are signified similar things to those explained just above, as is evident from the preceding and following parts of the chapter, where the establishment of a new church by the Lord is treated of.

In the same:

"Hast forgotten Jehovah thy Maker, who stretcheth out the heavens, and foundeth the earth" (li. 13).

Here also by the heavens and the earth is signified the church as to its internal or spiritual things, and as to its external or natural things and by stretching out and founding is signified to establish.

(References: Isaiah 48:12-13, 51:13)


[4] In the same:

"I will put my words into thy mouth, and with the shadow of my hand will I cover thee, to plant the heavens, and to found the earth, and to say unto Zion, Thou art my people; awake, awake, arise, O Jerusalem" (li. 16, 17).

Here by planting the heavens and founding the earth, is evidently meant to establish the church; for this is said unto the prophet, that the word should be put in his mouth, and that he should be covered with the shadow of the hand to plant the heavens and to found the earth. By a prophet the earth cannot be founded, but the church. Therefore also it is added, "To say unto Zion, thou art my people;" also, "Awake, awake, arise, O Jerusalem." For by Zion and by Jerusalem, in the Word, is meant the church.

In David:

"The heaven and the earth are thine; the world and the fulness thereof thou hast founded them" (Psalm lxxxix. 11).

Here in like manner by heaven and the earth is signified the church, by the world the church as to good; and by the fulness thereof are signified all the goods and truths of the church.

(References: Isaiah 51:16-17; Psalms 89:11)


[5] Again:

"Jehovah hath founded the earth and the world upon the seas, and established them upon the rivers. Who shall ascend into the mountain of Jehovah, and who shall stand in the place of his holiness?" (Psalm xxiv. 2, 3).

That the establishment of the church is described by founding the earth and the world upon the seas, and establishing them upon the rivers, may be seen above (n. 304, 518, 741). That the establishment of the church is signified, is evident from what follows here, namely, who shall ascend into the mountain of Jehovah, and who shall stand in the place of His holiness? By the mountain of Jehovah is understood Zion; whereby is signified, where the Lord reigns by means of Divine truth; and by the place of [His] holiness is meant Jerusalem, where the temple was, by which is signified the church as to doctrine. From these things it is evident, that by the foundation of the world is signified the establishment of the church. For the same is meant by the world, as by heaven and the earth. And it is said, "To found the earth;" because by the earth is signified the church on earth, and upon this heaven is founded as to its holy things.

Hence, also, it is evident what is signified by the foundations of the earth in the following passages.

In Isaiah:

"Have ye not known, have ye not heard, hath it not been declared to you from the beginning, have ye not understood the foundations of the earth?" (xl. 21).

In the same:

"The foundations of the earth are corrupted" (xxiv. 18).

Likewise in Isa. lviii. 12; Jer. xxxi. 37; Micah vi. 2; Ps. xviii. 8, 16; lxxxii. 5; and elsewhere).

Continuation concerning the second kind of Profanation:-

(References: Isaiah 24:18, 40:21, Isaiah 58:12, 63:12; Jeremiah 31:37; Micah 6:2; Psalms 18:7, 18:15, 24:2-3, 82:5; The Apocalypse Explained 74, The Apocalypse Explained 304, 518)


[6] The reason why profaners of this kind are stupid and foolish in spiritual things, but cunning and ingenious in worldly things is, that they make one with the devils in hell.

And because, as said above, they are merely sensual, and thence are in their own proprium, which draws its delight of life from the unclean effluvia exhaled from effete things in the body, and exhaled from dunghills, from these also arise their conceit and pride when things are in their delight.

[7] That it arises from these is evident from their delights, after death, when they live as spirits; for then in preference to the most fragrant odours they love the rank stenches that arise from the air discharged from the belly, and from latrines, which smell to them more fragrant than thyme. By the breath and touch of these the interiors of the mind are closed, and the exteriors belonging to the body are opened, whence arise their eagerness in worldly matters, and their dulness in spiritual things. In a word, the love of domination by means of the holy things of the church corresponds to filth, and the delight of it to an unspeakable stench, which to the angels is most horrible. Such is the exhalation from their hells when they are opened, but because of the oppression that arises, and on account of swooning that sometimes follows, they are kept closed.

(References: Matthew 25:34; Revelation 17:8)

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Apocalypse Explained 1052, 1116, 1141


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Isaiah 58:12

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12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Isaiah 58      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 58

(Note: Rev. Smithson's translation of the Isaiah text is appended below the explanation.)

1. CRY aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet, and declare unto My people their transgressions; and to the house of Jacob their sins.

VERSE 1. Divine Truth itself in heaven is signified by "voices" and "lightnings", but celestial or angelic Truth adjoined to the Divine, which is beneath or around, is signified by the "voice of a trumpet", as in Zechariah:

"Jehovah shall appear over them, and His weapon shall go forth as lightning; and the Lord Jehovih shall sound with a trumpet, and shall advance in the storms of the south." (Zechariah 9:14)

And in David:

"God ascends with noise; Jehovah with the voice of a trumpet"; (Psalm 47:5) where "noise" denotes the Truth of spiritual Good, and the "voice of a trumpet" the Truth of celestial Good. Arcana Coelestia 8815. See also the Exposition of Isaiah 27:13.

Declare unto My people their transgressions, etc. - As to the difference in meaning between "transgressions", "iniquities", and " sins", see Chapter 1:28, the Exposition.

2. Yet they seek Me daily, and the knowledge of My ways they desire, as a nation that has done justice, and has not forsaken the judgment of their God, that they might inquire of Me the judgments of justice; they delight in approaching to God.

Verse 2. That they might inquire of Me the judgments of justice, etc. - The "judgments of justice" denote divine Truths from Divine Good. Apocalypse Explained 946. See also Arcana Coelestia 612; True Christian Religion 51; Heaven and Hell 216.

3. [Saying] Wherefore have we fasted, and You seest not? have we afflicted our soul, and You dost not regard? Behold, in the day of your fasting, you find your pleasure; and all your demands you exact.

Verse 3. By "fasting" is signified to mourn by reason of a defect of Truth and of Good. Apocalypse Explained 1189.

4. Behold, you fast for strife and contention, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: do not fast as in this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

Verse 4. To "smite with the fist of wickedness", signifies to smite with full power by falsities from evil. By the "fist" is signified, full power from Truth in general. It is called general [or common] Truth, because it is generally received, and is everywhere of avail or power; hence to "smite with the fist" is with full force and power, in the spiritual sense, by Truths which are from Good; and, in the opposite sense, by falsities which are from evil, - in which sense it is understood in the above passage in Isaiah. Arcana Coelestia 9025.

5. Is this, then, the fast which I choose? a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it that he should bow down his head like a bulrush, and lie down in sackcloth and ashes? Wilt you call this a fast, a day well-pleasing to Jehovah?

6. Is not this the fast which I choose, to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the bruised go free, and that you break off every yoke?

Verse 5. Wilt you call this a fast, a day well-pleasing to Jehovah? - That by "good pleasure", or what is "well-pleasing" to Jehovah, when predicated concerning men, is signified to live according to His precepts, - which is to love God and our neighbour, is evident, for it is said that His "good pleasure", or what is "well-pleasing " to Him, is "to break bread to the hungry, and to cover the naked."

By "breaking bread to the hungry", is signified from a principle of love to do Good to our neighbour, who is in the desire of Good; and by "covering the naked", is signified to instruct in Truths him who desires to be instructed. Apocalypse Explained 295.

Verses 5-7. Whereas to "put on sackcloth"· and to "roll in ashes" represented mourning over evils and falsities, it also represented humiliation, and likewise repentance; for the first principle of humiliation on man's part is to acknowledge that, of himself, he is nothing but what is evil and false; and, in like manner, of repentance, which is not effected but by humiliation, and this by confession of the heart that, of himself, he is such. That to "put on sackcloth" was a representation of humiliation, see 1 Kings 21:27-29; that it was a representative of repentance, see Matthew 11:21; Luke 10:13; out that it was nothing else but a representative, thus only an external thing appertaining to the body, and not an internal thing appertaining to the heart, is evident from Isaiah:

"Is it that he should bow down his head like a bulrush, and lie down in sackcloth and ashes? Wilt you call this a fast, a day well-pleasing to Jehovah? Is not this the fast which I choose? - to loose the bonds of wickedness, to break bread to the hungry?" etc. Arcana Coelestia 4779.

7. Is it not to break your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the afflicted outcasts into your house? when you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from thine own flesh?

Verse 7. By "breaking bread to the hungry", is signified from charity to communicate and instruct those who are in ignorance, and, at the same time, in the desire of knowing Truths. To "bring the afflicted outcasts into the house"; signifies to amend and restore those who are in falsities, and thence in grief; "afflicted outcasts" denoting those who are in grief from falsities, for they who are in falsities stand without, whereas they who are in Truths are of the house, because the "house" is the intellectual mind, into which Truths only are admitted; for it is opened by Truths originating in Good. On account of which signification it is also added, "When you see the naked, that you cover him"; to be "naked" denoting to be without Truths, and to "cover the naked" is to instruct; for "garments", in the Word, signify Truths clothing, as may be seen above, Apocalypse Explained 295. Apocalypse Explained 386.

Those who press the literal sense of these words [as the only sense], believe that if they only break their bread to the hungry, and bring into their house the afflicted and wandering outcasts, and cover the naked, they shall, on that account, come into "the glory of Jehovah, or into heaven; whereas those deeds are only external, and can be done by the impious that they may merit heaven; but by the "hungry", the "afflicted", and the "naked", are signified those who are spiritually such, thus the different states of misery in which the man is who is the neighbour towards whom charity should be practised. Arcana Coelestia 3419.

8. Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and your justice shall go before you; the glory of Jehovah shall gather up your rear.

9. Then shalt you call, and Jehovah shall answer; you shalt cry out, and He shall say, Behold Me! If you remove from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and the speaking of iniquity;

Verse 8. The glory of Jehovah shall gather up your rear. - What is meant by these words, see above, Chapter 52:12, the Exposition.

10. And if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light rise in obscurity, and your darkness shall be as the noon-day;

Verse 10. To "draw [or press] out the soul to the hungry", and to "satisfy the afflicted soul", signifies to teach him who desires to know what is Good and True; by the "hungry is signified one who desires Good, and by the "afflicted" he who desires Truth; and by "drawing out the soul" is signified to teach those things, thus to draw them forth from the understanding, from doctrine, and from faith; for by "soul", in this passage, is denoted the life of the understanding. That those who are in ignorance, but still in the desire of receiving Truth, will receive the understanding of Truth and of Good, is signified by "then shall your light rise in obscurity, and your darkness shall be as the noon-day"; "obscurity" and "darkness" denoting the ignorance of Truth and of Good, and " light" and "noon-day" are the understanding of them. Apocalypse Explained 750.

In these words is described the exercise of charity towards the neighbour; in this case, towards those who are in ignorance, and, at the same time, In the desire of knowing Truths, and in grief on account of the falsities which occupy the mind; and that with those who are in that charity, falsities shall be shaken off, and Truths give light and shine.

Charity towards those who are in ignorance, and, at the same time, in the desire of knowing Truths, is understood by "If you draw out your soul to the hungry"; the "hungry" denoting those who desire; "soul" denoting the intelligence of Truth instructing.

That it is thus to instruct those who are in grief on account of the falsities which occupy the mind, is signified by "If you satisfy the afflicted soul."

That with those who are in such charity, ignorance shall be dissipated, and Truths shine and give light, is understood by "your light shall rise in obscurity, and your darkness shall be as the noon-day"; "obscurity" signifies the ignorance of the spiritual mind, and "darkness" the ignorance of the natural mind; "light" signifies Truth in the light, in like manner "noon-day."

In such illustration are they who from charity or spiritual affection instruct those who are in falsities from ignorance; for that charity is the receptacle of the influx of light or Truth from the Lord. Apocalypse Explained 386.

11. And Jehovah shall lead you continually, and shall satisfy your soul in parched places; and He shall strengthen your bones: and you shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters deceive not.

Verse 11. He shall strengthen [or quicken] your bones; and you shalt be like a watered garden, etc. - By "bone" and "flesh" is signifIed the proprium of man, - by "bone" his intellectual proprium, and by "flesh " his will proprium, thus by "bone" his proprium as to Truth, for this is of his intellectual principle, and by "flesh" his proprium as to Good, for this is of his will, as may be seen in Arcana Coelestia 148, 149. As to what concerns the proprium in general, it is two-fold, the one infernal, the other celestial; man receives infernal proprium from hell, and celestial proprium from heaven, that is, through heaven from the Lord; for all evil, and every false principle thence derived, flows in from hell, and all Good, and Truth thence derived, flows in from the Lord.

That this is the case, is known to man from the doctrine of faith, but scarcely one in ten thousand believes it; hence it is that man appropriates to himself, or makes his own, the evil which flows in from hell, and that the Good which flows in from the Lord, does not affect him, consequently is not imputed to him.

The reason why man does not believe that evil flows in from hell, and Good from the Lord, is, because he is in self-love, which love is attended with this principle of unbelief, insomuch that it is exceedingly indignant when it hears it asserted that everything is the effect of influx; hence, then, it is, that all man's proprium. is nothing but evil, see Arcana Coelestia 210, 215. But the ground why man believes that evil is from hell, and Good from the Lord, is, because he is not in self-love, but in love towards his neighbour and towards the Lord, for this love is ever attended with this principle of belief; hence it is that man receives from the Lord a heavenly proprium, concerning which, see Arcana Coelestia 155, 164. This proprium, in each sense, is signified by "bone" and "flesh"; and this is the groundl and reason why by "bones", in the Word, is signified Truth, and, in an opposite sense, the false principle; and by "flesh" is signified Good, and, in an opposite sense, evil. That such is the signification of "bones", may appear from the following passages:

"Jehovah shall lead you continually, and shall satisfy your soul in parched places; and He shall strengthen [or quicken] your bones: and you. shalt be like a watered garden"; (Isaiah 58:11) where "strengthening [or quickening] the bones" denotes to vivify the intellectual proprium; that is, to illustrate it with intelligence; whence it is said that "you may be as a watered garden"; that "garden" denotes intelligence, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia 100, 108, 1588.

Again, in the same Prophet:

"Then you shall see, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall bud forth like the herb"; (Isaiah 66:14) where, by "bones budding forth like the herb", the same is signified as above. Arcana Coelestia 3812.

12. And they that spring from you shall build up the old waste places; you shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shalt be called the Repairer of the breach, the Restorer of paths to dwell in.

Verse 12. These words treat of the church in which charity and life are the essential. To "repair the breach", is to amend falsities which have crept in by the separation of what is Good from what is True, for everything false comes from this separation: to "restore paths to dwell in", signifies Truths which are of Good, for "paths" or "ways" are Truths, and to "dwell" is predicated of Good. Arcana Coelestia 4926.

13. If you turn your foot away from the Sabbath, from doing thine own pleasure on the day of My holiness; and shalt call the Sabbath a Delight to the Holy [One] of Jehovah, honourable; and shalt honour it, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

Verse 13. To "turn away the foot from the Sabbath", denotes such things as are of the natural man; to "do his own pleasure [or will]", is to do those things which favour the lusts and evils of the loves of self and of the world; to "do his own ways, is to favour the falsities of evils; to "find his own pleasure", is to live according to the delights of those loves; and to "speak his own words", denotes to think such things. Hence it is evident that by "profaning the Sabbath" is signified to be led of themselves and of their own loves, and not of the Lord, who, in the supreme sense, is the "Sabbath."

Similar things are signified by "works" on the Sabbath day, as by "cutting wood", and "kindling a fire", and "preparing food" at that time, "gathering in the harvest", and by several other things which were forbidden to be done on the Sabbath day; by which also like things are understood, - by "cutting wood", the operating of good from themselves; by "kindling a fire", the doing of it from their own loves; and by "preparing food", teaching themselves from their own proper intelligence.

That such things are involved in the above prohibitions, no one can know but from the internal sense. It is further to be noted, that to be led of self and to be led of the Lord are two opposites; for he who is led by himself is led by his own loves, thus by hell, because the proper loves of man are from that source; but he who is led by the Lord is led by the loves of heaven which are love to the Lord and love towards the neighbour; he who is led by those loves is withdrawn from his own proper loves, and he who is led by his own proper loves is withdrawn from the loves of heaven, for they in no wise agree together; for the life of man is either in heaven or in hell, nor is it permitted to be at the same time in one and in the other.

This is meant by the Lord's words in Matthew:

"No one can serve two lords; for he will either hate the one and love the other, or he will adhere to the one and despise the other." (Matthew 6:24)

From these considerations it is evident what is signified by "doing work on the Sabbath day." When man is thus led by the Lord, and conjoined to Him, then the church and heaven are in him, which is signified by his being made to "ride upon the high places of the earth", and by his being" fed with the heritage of Jacob." Arcana Coelestia 10362; also 10360.

In the natural sense, which is that of the letter, the divine commandment to "remember the Sabbath day, and to keep it holy", signifies that six days are for man and his labours, and the seventh for the Lord and for man's rest in dependence on Him; for the word "Sabbath", in the original tongue, signifies rest.

The "Sabbath" among the children of Israel was the sanctity of sanctities, because it represented the Lord; the "six days" being significative of His labours and combats with the hells, and the "seventh" of His victory over them, and of the rest which He thereby attained; and because that "day" represented the close and period of the whole work of redemption accomplished by the Lord, it was esteemed holiness itself.

But when the Lord came into the world, and, in consequence, made all representations of Himself to cease, that day was then made a day for instruction in divine subjects, and thus also a day of rest from labours, and of meditation on matters that concern salvation and eternal life; and also a day for the exercise of love towards our neighbour. That it was made a day for instruction in divine subjects, is evident from this circumstance, that the Lord, on that day, "taught in the temple and in the synagogues"; (Mark 6:2; Luke 4:16, 31, 32; 13:10) and that He said to the man who was healed - "Take up your bed, and walk"; and to the Pharisees, that "it was lawful for His disciples on the Sabbath day to gather the ears of corn, and to eat"; [Matthew 12:1-9; Mark 2:23, to the end; Luke 6:1-6; John 5:9-19) which particulars signify, in the spiritual sense, to be instructed in doctrinals.

That that day was also made a day for the exercise of love towards our neighbour, is evident from what the Lord both "did and taught on the Sabbath day." (Matthew 12:10-13; Mark 3:1-5; Luke 6:6-12; 13:10-17; 14:1-6; John 5:9-19; 7:22, 23; 9:14-16)

From these and the foregoing passages it appears why the Lord said that "He is Lord also of the Sabbath"; (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5) and from His making this declaration, it follows that the "Sabbath day" was representative of Him. True Christian Religion 301.

14. Then shalt you delight yourself in Jehovah; and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob- your father: for the mouth of Jehovah has spoken it.

Verse 14. By "causing to ride upon the high places of the earth", is signified to give the understanding of superior or interior Truths concerning the things of the church and of heaven; and by "feeding with the heritage of Jacob", is signified to gift with all things of heaven and the church; for by the "heritage of Jacob" is understood the land of Canaan, and by that "land" is meant the church, and, in a superior sense, heaven. Apocalypse Explained 617.

That a "horse" signifies the understanding, and to "ride." means to be intelligent, see Chapter 31:1, the Exposition.

---
Isaiah Chapter 58.

1. CRY aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet, and declare unto My people their transgressions; and to the house of Jacob their sins.

2. Yet they seek Me daily, and the knowledge of My ways they desire, as a nation that has done justice, and has not forsaken the judgment of their God, that they might inquire of Me the judgments of justice; they delight in approaching to God.

3. [Saying] Wherefore have we fasted, and You see not? have we afflicted our soul, and You dost not regard? Behold, in the day of your fasting, you find your pleasure; and all your demands you exact.

4. Behold, you fast for strife and contention, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: do not fast as in this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

5. Is this, then, the fast which I choose? a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it that he should bow down his head like a bulrush, and lie down in sackcloth and ashes? Wilt you call this a fast, a day well-pleasing to Jehovah?

6. Is not this the fast which I choose, to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the bruised go free, and that you break off every yoke?

7. Is it not to break your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the afflicted outcasts into your house? when you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from thine own flesh?

8. Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and your justice shall go before you; the glory of Jehovah shall gather up your rear.

9. Then shalt you call, and Jehovah shall answer; you shalt cry out, and He shall say, Behold Me! If you remove from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and the speaking of iniquity;

10. And if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light rise in obscurity, and your darkness shall be as the noon-day;

11. And Jehovah shall lead you continually, and shall satisfy your soul in parched places; and He shall strengthen your bones: and you shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters deceive not.

12. And they that spring from you shall build up the old waste places; you shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shalt be called the Repairer of the breach, the Restorer of paths to dwell in.

13. If you turn your foot away from the Sabbath, from doing thine own pleasure on the day of My holiness; and shalt call the Sabbath a Delight to the Holy [One] of Jehovah, honourable; and shalt honour it, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14. Then shalt you delight yourself in Jehovah; and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob- your father: for the mouth of Jehovah has spoken it.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 58


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 613, 2708, 4926

Apocalypse Revealed 589


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 1057

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