The Bible

 

Genesis 1

English: King James Version      

Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 2 →

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.

Genesis 2 →

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

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

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:




Hop to Similar Bible Verses

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

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

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

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

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

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

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

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Word/Phrase Explanations

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

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

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

heaven
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

Earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

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...

Void
A 'void', or 'Vacuity' denotes a person's state before regeneration. From Arcana Coelestia 7: "The first state is the state which precedes, both the state...

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

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

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

spirit
There are two aspects to the life of each person. We might call them "heart" and "mind," a part of us that wants and feels...

Spirit of God
'The spirit of God,' as in Genesis 1:2, signifies the divine mercy of the Lord. 'The spirit of God' is His emanation. 'The spirit of...

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

waters
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

light
Nov. 4, 1879: Thomas Edison filed a patent for a long-burning light bulb. Nov. 5, 1879: The light bulb was universally accepted as the symbol...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

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

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

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...

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Land
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...

Grass
Grass signifies the scientific principle. Just as green grass serves animals for support, scientific truth serves men for spiritual nourishment. ‘Grass’ is scientific truth, and...

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

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

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

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

after
According to Swedenborg, time and space don’t exist in spiritual reality; they are purely natural things that exist only on the physical plane. This means...

third
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

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...

signs
The Bible often speaks of signs and miracles as things that convinced people of the Lord's leading. Swedenborg divides the two, identifying "signs" as things...

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...

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...

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.

stars
'The learned,' or 'wise,' who 'shall shine as the stars,' are people who are in good.

over
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

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

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

fowl
"Birds" mean rational concepts in the external man and intellectual concepts in the internal man.

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.

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...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

cattle
Animals in the Bible generally refer to spiritual activity, the things we actually do on a spiritual level. "Cattle," as typically used in the Bible,...

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

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

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

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

Fish
Fish signify sensual affections which are the ultimate affections of the natural man. Also, those who are in common truths, which are also ultimates of...

sea
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,...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

female
Female signifies good.

Meat
'Meat,' as in Genesis 40:17, signifies celestial good, because 'the meat of the angels' are nothing but the goods of love and charity, which not...

green
The color green is almost exclusively used in connection with plants in the Bible (the exceptions include two stomach-turning references to moldy plagues in Leviticus),...

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

Resources for parents and teachers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

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

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

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

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

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Creation: A General View
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The Fifth and Sixth Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The First Four Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Days of Creation Collage Book or Mural
Ideas from an art teacher for making a creation book or mural.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #257

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

Study this Passage

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257. Because in this prophetical book numbers are often mentioned; and as no one can know the spiritual sense of what is contained in those numbers unless he knows what the particular numbers signify; for all numbers in the Word, as well as all names, signify spiritual things; and because the number seven is often mentioned amongst others, I am desirous here of showing that seven signifies all, and all things, also what is full and complete for that which signifies all, and all things, signifies also what is full and complete. For what is full and complete is said of the magnitude of a thing, and all and all things of multitude.

That the number seven has such a signification is evident from the following passages. In Ezekiel:

"The inhabitants of the cities of Israel shall set fire to and burn the arms, the shield also and the buckler, with the bow and the arrows, and with the hand-staff, and with the spear; and they shall kindle a fire with them seven years; and they shall bury Gog and all his multitude, and they shall cleanse the land seven months" (xxxix. 9, 11, 12).

The subject here treated of is the desolation of all things in the church. The inhabitants of the cities of Israel signify all the goods of truth, to set on fire and burn signifies to consume by evils. The arms, the shield, the buckler, the bows, the arrows, the hand-staff, the spear, denote everything pertaining to doctrine; to kindle fire with them seven years denotes to consume them all and fully by evils. Gog signifies those who are in external worship, and in no internal worship; to bury them and cleanse the land denotes to destroy them all, and completely to purge the church of them.

(References: Ezekiel 39:9, 39:11-12; Leviticus 16:12-15; Revelation 3:22)


[2] In Jeremiah:

"Their widows shall be multiplied more than the sand of the seas, and I will bring to them upon the mother of the youths the waster at noon-day. She who hath borne seven shall languish, she shall breathe out her soul" (xv. 8, 9).

By the widows which will be multiplied are signified those who are in good and desire truths, and, in the opposite sense, as in the present case, those who are in evil and desire falsities. By the mother of the youths is signified the church; by the waster at noon-day is signified the vastation of that church, however much they may be in truths from the Word. By she that hath borne seven shall languish, she shall breathe out her soul, is signified that the church, to which all truths were given because the Word was given them, should perish; for she that hath borne seven signifies those to whom all truths were given. This is specifically said concerning the Jews.

(References: Jeremiah 15:8-9)


[3] Similarly, in the first book of Samuel:

"They that were hungry ceased, so that the barren hath borne seven, and she that hath many children hath failed" (ii. 5).

The hungry who ceased denote those who desire the goods and truths of the church; the barren who hath borne seven signifies those who are outside the church and are ignorant of truths because they have not the Word, as the Gentiles, to whom all things will be given; she that hath many children failing signifies those who have truths, from whom they will be taken away. Again, in David:

"Render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom" (lxxix. 12).

And in Moses,

That the Jews should be punished seven times for their sins (Levit. xxvi. 18, 21, 24, 28);

seven times here signifying fully.

(References: 1 Samuel 2:5; Leviticus 26:18, 26:21, 26:24, 26:28; Psalms 79:12)


[4] In Luke:

"And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him" (xvii. 4).

Here, to forgive seven times, if he shall return seven times, denotes to forgive as often as the offender should return, and thus at all times. But lest Peter should understand seven times to be meant by these words, the Lord explains His meaning to him, as recorded in Matthew:

"Peter said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times, but until seventy times seven " (xviii. 21, 22).

Seventy times seven is always, without counting. In David:

"Seven times a day do I praise thee for the judgments of justice" (Ps. cxix. 164).

Seven times a day denotes always, or at all times.

(References: Luke 17:4; Matthew 18:21-22; Psalms 119:164)


[5] Again:

"The sayings of Jehovah are pure sayings, as silver refined in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Ps. xii. 6).

Here silver signifies truth from the Divine: purified seven times denotes that it is altogether and fully pure.

(References: Psalms 12:6)


[6] In Isaiah:

"The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days" (xxx. 26).

The light of the sun signifies Divine truth from Divine good: and that this light should be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, signifies that the Divine truth in heaven should be without any falsity, thus that it should be altogether and fully pure.

(References: Isaiah 30:26)


[7] In Matthew,

The unclean spirit "shall take with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and he shall dwell there" (xii. 45; Luke xi. 26).

Here profanation is treated of, and by the seven other spirits with which the unclean spirit is said to return are signified all falsities of evil, thus a plenary destruction of good and truth.

(References: Luke 11:26; Matthew 12:45)


[8] Similar is the signification of the seven times which were to pass over the king of Babylon, in Daniel,

"His heart shall be changed from man, and the heart of a beast shall be given unto him; while seven times shall pass over him" (iv. 16, 25, 32).

By the king of Babylon are signified those who profane the goods and truths of the Word. By his heart being changed from that of a man to that of a beast is meant that nothing spiritual, that is, truly human, should remain with him, but that instead there should be everything diabolical. By the seven times which were to pass over him is meant profanation, which is a complete destruction of truth and good.

(References: Daniel 4:16, 4:25, 4:32)


[9] Because the terms seven, and seven times, signified all things, and also what is full, the following commands were given to the children of Israel:

Seven days their hands should be filled (Exod. xxix. 35).

Seven days they should be sanctified (Exod. xxix. 37).

Seven days Aaron should put on the garments when he was being initiated (Exod. xxix. 30).

Seven days they should not go out of the tabernacle when they were being initiated into the priesthood (Levit. viii. 33, 34).

Seven times expiation should be made upon the horns of the altar (Levit. xvi. 18, 19).

Seven times should the altar be sanctified with oil (Levit. viii. 11).

Seven times should the blood be sprinkled before the veil (Levit. iv. 16, 17).

Seven times should the blood be sprinkled with the finger towards the east, when Aaron went in to the mercy seat (Levit. xvi. 12-15).

Seven times should the water of separation be sprinkled towards the tabernacle (Num. xix. 4).

Seven times should blood be sprinkled for the cleansing of leprosy (Levit. xiv. 7, 8, 27, 38, 51).

The lampstand had seven lamps (Exod. xxv. 32, 37; xxxvii. 18-25).

Feasts should be celebrated for seven days (Exod. xxxiv. 18; Levit. xxiii. 4-9, 39-44; Deut. xvi. 3, 4, 8).

Seven days of the feast there should be a burnt offering of seven bullocks and seven rams daily (Ezek. xlv. 23).

Baalam built seven altars, and sacrificed seven oxen and seven rams (Num. xxiii. 1-7, 15-18, 29, 30).

They numbered seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, and then should cause the trumpet of the jubilee to be sounded in the seventh month (Levit. xxv. 8, 9).

From the signification of the number seven, it is evident what is signified

By the seven days of creation (Gen. i.).

Also by four thousand men being filled from seven loaves, and that seven basketsful of fragments remained over (Matt. xv. 34-37; Mark viii. 5-9).

Hence now it is clear what is signified in the Apocalypse,

By the seven churches (i. 4, 11).

By the seven golden lampstands, in the midst of which was the Son of man (i. 13).

By the seven stars in His right hand (i. 16, 20).

By the seven spirits of God (iii. 1).

By the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne (iv. 5).

By the book sealed with seven seals (v. 1).

By the seven angels to whom were given seven trumpets (viii. 2).

By the seven thunders which uttered their voices (x. 3, 4).

By the seven angels having the seven last plagues, (xv. 1, 6).

By seven vials full of the seven last plagues (xvi. 1; xxi. 9)

and elsewhere in the Word, where seven is mentioned.

(References: Deuteronomy 16:3-4, 16:8; Exodus 25:32, 25:37, 29:30, 29:35, 29:37, 34:18, 37:18-25; Ezekiel 45:23; Genesis 1, 1:1; Leviticus 4:16-17, 8:11, 8:33-34, 14:7-8, 14:27, 14:38, 14:51, 16:12-15, Leviticus 16:18-19, 23:4-9, 23:4-8, 23:39-44, 25:8-9; Mark 8:5-9; Matthew 15:34-38; Numbers 19:4, 23:1-7, 23:15-18, 23:29-30; Revelation 1:4, 1:11, 1:13, 1:16, 1:20, 3:1, Revelation 3:22, 4:5, 5:1, 8:2, 10:3-4, 15:1, 15:6, 16:1, 16:6, 21:8-27, 21:9)

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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 258, 300, 316, 336, 357, 386, 401, 486, 489, 602, 658, 676, 681, 715, 761, 775, 928, 949

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Apocalypse Explained #357

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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357. That a bow signifies doctrine fighting, or doctrine from which evils and falsities are fought against, and that arrows, javelins, and darts signify the truths of doctrine which fight, is evident from the following passages. In Zechariah:

"I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the bow of war shall be cut off. On the contrary, he shall speak peace to the nations. Return to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope, and I will bend Judah to me, and with the bow I will fill Ephraim, and I will stir up thy sons, O Zion, for Jehovah shall appear over them, and his dart shall go forth as the lightning; and the Lord Jehovih shall blow with the trumpet, and he shall go in the whirlwinds of the south" (ix. 10, 12-14).

The vastation of the Jewish church is here treated of, and the establishment of the church among the gentiles. The vastation of the Jewish church is described by, I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the bow of war shall be cut off; by which is signified that truth in doctrine would be no more, nor the understanding of truth, and thence no combat or resistance against falsity. By the chariot is signified the doctrine of truth; by the horse, the understanding thereof; by the bow of war, combat from doctrine against falsity. It is said the bow of war, because doctrine fighting is meant. By Ephraim is signified the church as to the understanding of truth, and by Jerusalem [the same] as to doctrine. And the establishment of the church among the nations, is described by these words, "On the contrary, he shall speak peace to the nations. Return to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope; and I will bend Judah to me, and with the bow I will fill Ephraim, and I will stir up thy sons, O Zion." By which is signified, that the church shall be established among those who are in the good of love to the Lord, and in truths thence. By peace is signified that good; by Judah those who are in that good; and by Ephraim those who are in the understanding of truth thence; therefore it is said concerning Ephraim, "with the bow he will fill him," that is, with the doctrine of truth. Their enlightenment in truths is described by these words, "His dart shall go forth as the lightning; and the Lord Jehovih shall blow with the trumpet, and he shall go in the whirlwinds of the south." The dart which shall go forth as lightning, signifies truth enlightened, thus truth from the good of love; He shall blow with the trumpet signifies the plain perception of good; and the whirlwinds of the south signify the plain understanding of truth, the south denoting the light of truth; the subject here treated of is the Lord, thus that those things are from the Lord.

(References: Revelation 6:2; Zechariah 9:10, 9:12-14)


[2] In Moses:

"The son of a fruitful one is Joseph, the son of a fruitful one near a fountain; the daughters, as he walketh upon the wall, shall embitter him, and shall shoot at him, the archers shall hate him; and he shall sit in the firmness of his bow, and the arms of his hands shall be strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob; thence is he the shepherd, the stone of Israel" (Gen. xlix. 22-24).

By Joseph, in the highest sense, is signified the Lord as to the spiritual kingdom. There are two kingdoms of heaven; one is called the celestial kingdom, and the other the spiritual kingdom; the celestial kingdom is described in the prophetic declaration concerning Judah, and the spiritual kingdom in this concerning Joseph. Those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom are in the good of love to Him, which is called celestial good; and those who are in the Lord's spiritual kingdom are in the good of love towards the neighbour, and thence in truths; and because all truths proceed from the Lord through the spiritual kingdom, it is thence that Joseph is called the son of a fruitful one, the son of a fruitful one near a fountain. By a fruitful one is signified spiritual good, which is the good of charity; by son is signified truth from that good; and by a fountain is signified the Word; combat against evils and falsities is described by "the daughters shall embitter him, and shoot at him, and the archers shall hate him," daughters signify those who are in evils, and who by falsities are desirous of destroying goods. Those who assault by evils are signified by, they shall shoot, and those who [assault] by falsities of evil by the archers who shall hate him. The Lord's victory over them is described by these words: "And he shall sit in the firmness of his bow, and the arms of his hands shall be strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, thence is he the shepherd, the stone of Israel." By sitting in the firmness of the bow is signified in the doctrine of genuine truth, and by the arms of his hands shall be strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, is signified the power [given] to them from the Lord; the arms of the hands denoting power, and the Mighty One of Jacob the Lord, who also is called the shepherd, the stone of Israel, from the doctrine of charity and of the faith thence which is from Him. That Joseph, in the highest sense, signifies the Lord as to the Divine Spiritual, and, in the internal sense, His spiritual kingdom, may be seen, n. 3969, 3971, 4669, 6417; and what [he signifies] besides, n. 4286, 4592, 4963, 5086, 5087, 5106, 5249, 5307, 5869, 5877, 6224, 6526).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3969, 3971, 4286, 4592, 4669, 4963, 5086-5087, 5106, 5249, 5307, 5869, 5877, 6224, 6417, 6526, Genesis 49:22-24)


[3] In the second book of Samuel:

"David lamented over Saul and over Jonathan his son; and wrote, For teaching the sons of Judah the bow" (i. 17, 18).

In that lamentation the fighting of truth from good against falsity from evil is treated of; for by Saul as a king is there signified truth from good, for such truth is meant by a king in the Word (see above, n. 31); and by Jonathan, as the son of a king, is signified the truth of doctrine; therefore he wrote the lamentation, For teaching the sons of Judah the bow, by which is signified to teach them the doctrine of truth which is from good. The fighting of that truth against falsities and evils is described in that lamentation by these words:

"Without the blood of the slain, without the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan returned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty" (verse 22).

The blood of the slain signifies falsities conquered and dispersed; similarly the fat of the mighty signifies evils. That these are conquered and dispersed by the doctrine of truth which is from good, is signified by, "The bow of Jonathan returned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty," the bow of Jonathan denoting doctrine, and the sword of Saul denoting truth from good.

(References: 2 Samuel 1:17-18, 1:22; The Apocalypse Explained 31)


[4] In David:

"God teacheth my hands war, and placeth a bow of brass in mine arms" (Psalm xviii. 34).

By war here is signified war in the spiritual sense, which is that against evils and falsities; this war God teaches; and by the bow of brass is signified the doctrine of charity, God places this in the arms, that is, that it may prevail.

(References: Psalms 18:34)


[5] In Isaiah:

"Who raised up one from the east, whom in justice he called to his train, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? He gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow" (xli. 2).

These things are said concerning the Lord, and concerning His dominion over evils and falsities. By the nations which He gave before him are signified evils; and by the kings over whom he made Him to rule, are signified falsities. That he disperses the latter and the former as nothing by means of His Divine truth, and the doctrine thence, is signified by, "He gave them as dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow," his sword denoting Divine truth, and his bow denoting doctrine. That evils and falsities are dispersed as nothing, is signified by, "As the dust, and as driven stubble"; it is said that evils and falsities are so dispersed, and it is meant that those who are in evils and thence in falsities are so [dealt with] in the other life.

(References: Isaiah 41:2)


[6] In Zechariah:

"Jehovah shall visit his flock, the house of Judah, and shall place them as the horse of his glory in the battle. Out of him [shall come forth] the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the bow of war" (x. 3, 4).

This may be seen explained in the article immediately preceding, where the signification of the horse is treated of"; by the bow of war is signified the truth fighting from doctrine.

(References: Zechariah 10:3-4)


[7] In Habakkuk:

"Was Jehovah displeased with the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou ridest upon thy horses, thy chariots salvation? With bareness shall thy bow be made bare" (iii. 8, 9).

This was also explained in the preceding article; by, "Thy bow shall be made bare," is signified that the doctrine of truth shall be opened.

(References: Habakkuk 3:8-9)


[8] In Isaiah:

"Before the swords shall they wander, before the drawn sword, and before the bended bow; and for the grievousness of the war all the glory of Kedar shall be consumed, and the remains of the number of the bow of the strong sons of Kedar shall be few" (xxi. 15-17).

The subject here treated of, in the spiritual sense, is that the knowledges of good would perish, and that few would remain; by Kedar or Arabia are signified those who are in the knowledges of good, and abstractedly those knowledges themselves. That the knowledges of truth would perish by falsities and by the doctrine of falsity, is signified by, "Before the swords shall they wander, before the drawn sword, and before the bended bow." The sword denotes falsity combating and destroying, and the bow denotes the doctrine of falsity. That the knowledges of good would perish, is signified by these words, "for the grievousness of the war all the glory of Kedar shall be consumed," the grievousness of war denoting the state of assault, and all the glory of Kedar shall be consumed, denoting vastation. And that few knowledges of good would remain, is described by the remains of the number of the bow of the strong sons of Kedar shall be few. The bow of the mighty, denoting the doctrine of truth from the knowledges which prevail against falsities.

(References: Isaiah 21:15-17)


[9] In the same:

"He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; he hath made me a polished dart; in his quiver hath he hid me" (xlix. 2).

The Lord is treated of here also; and by the sharp sword is signified truth dispersing falsity; by the polished dart truth dispersing evil; and by the quiver the Word. Hence it is manifest what is signified by, "He hath made my mouth as a sharp sword, and he hath made me a polished dart, and in his quiver hath he hid me," namely, that in Him and from Him is Divine truth, by which falsities and evils are dispersed, and that in Him and from Him is the Word, where and whence those truths are.

(References: Isaiah 49:2)


[10] In David:

"Lo, sons are the heritage of Jehovah; the fruit of the womb is his reward. As darts in the hand of a mighty man, so are the sons of youth. Blessed is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, when they speak with the enemies in the gate" (Ps. cxxvii. 3-5).

By the sons who are the heritage of Jehovah, are signified truths, whence is intelligence; by the fruit of the womb which is His reward, are signified goods, whence is happiness; by the sons of youth which are as darts in the hand of a mighty man, are signified the truths of the good of innocence; because nothing evil or false can resist those truths, therefore, it is said "they are as darts in the hand of a mighty man." The good of innocence is the good of love to the Lord; because those truths have such power, it is therefore said, "Blessed is the man that hath his quiver full of them"; by quiver here is signified the same as by bow, namely, doctrine from the Word. "They shall not be ashamed, when they speak with the enemies in the gate," signifies, that they shall be in no fear of evils from the hells; enemies denoting evils, and the gate denoting hell (as may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 428, 429, 583, 584, 685).

(References: Heaven and Hell 428-429, 538-585; Jeremiah 6:22-23; Psalms 127:3-5)


[11] In the same:

"The sons of Ephraim, who were armed, shooters of the bow, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the covenant of God" (Ps. lxxviii. 9, 10).

By Ephraim here, as above, is signified the understanding of truth, and by his sons the truths themselves; therefore they are also called shooters of the bow, that is, combatants against evils and falsities. That in this case they did not resist these, because they were not conjoined with the Lord, is signified by, "they turned back in the day of battle, because they did not keep the covenant of God." Covenant denotes conjunction, and not to keep it, is not to live according to the truths and goods that conjoin. From the passages adduced it is evident, that by a bow is signified the doctrine of truth fighting against falsities and evils, and dispersing them.

(References: Psalms 78:9-10)


[12] That this is signified by bow is still further evident from the opposite sense of it, in which bow signifies the doctrine of falsity fighting against truths and goods, and destroying them; and by darts and arrows the falsities themselves. The bow is mentioned in this sense in the following passages: In David:

"Lo, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the stringy, that they may shoot in darkness at the upright in heart" (Ps. xi. 2).

The wicked bending the bow, signifies that they frame doctrine; their making ready the arrow upon the string, signifies that they apply to it falsities that appear as truths; to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart, signifies to deceive those who are in truths from good. Bow here denotes the doctrine of falsity; arrow denotes falsity itself; to shoot denotes to deceive; and the darkness denotes appearances, for they reason from appearances in the world and from fallacies, by applying also the sense of the letter of the Word.

(References: Psalms 11:2)


[13] In the same:

"The wicked uncover the sword, and bend their bow, to cast down the miserable and needy. Their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken" (Ps. xxxvii. 14, 15).

By the sword is signified falsity fighting against truth, and by the bow is signified the doctrine of falsity. To cast down the miserable and the needy, signifies to pervert those who are in ignorance of truth and good. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, signifies that they shall perish from their own falsity; and their bows shall be broken, signifies that their doctrine of falsity shall be dissipated, which also is done after their departure out of the world; then their falsities destroy them, and their doctrine, so far as it concerns truths adjoined to falsities, is dissipated.

(References: Psalms 37:14-15)


[14] In the same:

"Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their arrows with a bitter word; that they may shoot in the hiding places at the perfect (Ps. lxiv. 3, 4).

Because a sword signifies falsity fighting against truth, therefore, it is said they sharpen their tongue like a sword; and because an arrow signifies falsity of doctrine, therefore it is said "they bend their bow with a bitter word; to shoot in the hiding, places at the perfect," signifies the same as above to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart, namely, to deceive those who are in truths from good.

(References: Psalms 64:3-4)


[15] In Jeremiah:

"They are all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men, who bend their tongue, their bow is a lie; neither in the truth have they prevailed in the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, neither have they known me" (ix. 2, 3).

By adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men, are meant those who falsify the knowledges of truth and good; adulterers denote those who falsify the knowledges of truth, and the treacherous those who [falsify] the knowledges of good; concerning, such it is said that they bend the tongue, and that their bow is a lie, the bow denoting doctrine whence come the principles of falsity, and a lie denoting falsity; and hence it is also said, "in the truth they have not prevailed in the earth," that is, in the church, where genuine truths are; that those are of such a quality who are in a life of evil, and do not acknowledge the Lord, is signified by, "for they proceed from evil to evil, neither have they known me."

(References: Jeremiah 9:2-3)


[16] In Jeremiah:

"Behold, I cause to come up against Babel an assembly of great nations from the land of the north; their darts as of a mighty one, none shall return vain; set yourselves in array against Babel round about, all ye that bend the bow shoot against her, spare not the arrows; make the shooters heard against Babel, all that bend the bow encamp against her round about, let there be no escape for her" (l. 9, 14, 29, 42; li. 3).

By these words is described the total devastation of truth with those meant by Babel; these arrogate to themselves the Divine power, and indeed acknowledge the Lord, but deprive Him of all power of salvation, and thence profane Divine truths. And because the Lord very carefully provides that genuine truths may not be profaned, therefore, those [truths] are entirely taken away from them, and they are imbued with absolute falsities instead. By the assembly of great nations from the land of the north, are signified direful evils rising up from hell; the great nations denoting direful evils, and the land of the north denoting hell, where there is nothing but falsity; by their darts as of a mighty man, none shall return vain, is signified that thence they shall be imbued with absolute falsities. By "Put yourselves in array against Babel round about; all ye that bend the bow, shoot against her, spare not the arrows," is signified also as to all doctrinals; the total devastation of truth with them is signified by "all ye that bend the bow, camp against her round about; let there be no escape for her."

(References: Jeremiah 50:9, 50:14, 50:29, 50:42, 51:3)


[17] In Isaiah:

"I stir up against them the Medes, who will not esteem the silver, and in the gold they will not delight, whose bows will dash in pieces the young men, and the fruit of the belly they will not pity; so shall Babel be as the overthrowing of God, Sodom and Gomorrah" (xiii. 17-19).

These things also are said of Babel and of the devastation of all things of the church with those who are meant by Babylon, concerning which we have spoken just above. By the Medes are signified those who regard the truths and goods of heaven and the church as nothing; therefore it is said concerning them, "who will not esteem the silver, and in the gold they will not delight"; silver signifying truth, and gold good, both of the church. By their bows which shall dash in pieces the young men, and by the fruit of the belly which they shall not pity, are signified the doctrinals that destroy all truth and all the good thence; the young men signifying truths, and the fruit of the belly goods; and because all evil with them is from the love of self, and all falsity is from that evil, and because that evil and the falsity thence are condemned to hell, therefore it is said, "so shall Babel be as the overthrowing of God, Sodom and Gomorrah"; God's overthrowing signifying damnation to hell, and Sodom and Gomorrah signifying the evils from the love of self and the falsities thence. (That these things are signified by Sodom and Gomorrah, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 2220, 2246, 2322.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2220, 2246, 2322; Isaiah 13:17-19)


[18] In the same:

"In that day, every place where there were a thousand vines for a thousand of silver, shall even be for thorn-brake and bramble-bush. With arrow and with bow shall he come thither; because the whole land shall be thorn-brake and bramble-bush" (vii. 23, 24).

The church devastated as to all truth and good is thus described; the quality of the church before, when genuine truths, which are truths from good, were there in abundance, [is described] by there being a thousand vines for a thousand of silver; a thousand vines denoting truths from good in abundance, a thousand of silver denoting that they are most highly esteemed because they are genuine; silver denoting truth, and a thousand many, thus, in abundance. But what the quality of the church became when vastated as to all truth and good, is described by these words, "with arrow and with bow shall be come thither; because the whole land shall be thorn-brake and bramble-bush." Arrow denotes falsity destroying truth, and the bow denotes the doctrine of falsity. A thorn-brake signifies falsity from evil, and a bramble-bush evil from falsity; the land denotes the church.

(References: Isaiah 7:23-24)


[19] In Jeremiah:

"Behold, a people cometh from the land of the north, and a great nation shall be stirred from the sides of the earth. They lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice resoundeth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, equipped as a man for war against thee, O daughter of Zion" (vi. 22, 23).

The devastation of the church by the falsities of evil is described here also; what a people from the land of the north signifies, and a great nation from the sides of the earth, also what their voice signifies which resoundeth as the sea, and their riding upon horses, was explained in the article just preceding. That they lay hold on bow and spear signifies falsity of doctrine destroying truth, and a spear the falsity of evil destroying good; the daughter of Zion denotes the church.

(References: Jeremiah 6:22-23)


[20] In the same:

"The whole land is a desolation, for the voice of the horseman and of the archers the whole city fleeth; they have entered the clouds, they have ascended into the rocks, the whole city is deserted, no one dwelling therein" (iv. 27, 29).

This also may be seen explained in the article immediately preceding. The voice of the horseman and of the archers signifies reasonings from falsities, and assaults of the truth; the archers or those who bend the bow, denoting those who assault truths from falsities of doctrine; hence it is said the whole city fleeth, the whole city is deserted, city signifying the doctrine of the church.

(References: Jeremiah 4:27, 4:29)


[21] In Isaiah:

Jehovah "hath lifted up an ensign to the nations from far, and behold the swift one shall come quickly, his arrows are sharp, and all his bows bent; the hoofs of his horses are counted as rocks, and his wheels as the whirlwind" (v. 26, 28).

By his arrows are sharp, and all his bows bent, are signified falsities of doctrine prepared to destroy truths; what is signified by the nations from far, and by the hoofs of the horses are counted like rocks, and by the wheels which are like a whirlwind, may be seen in the article just above, where they are explained.

(References: Isaiah 5:26, 5:28; The Apocalypse Explained 355)


[22] In Amos:

"He that handleth the bow shall not stand, neither the swift with his feet deliver himself; neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver his own soul. But the strong in his heart among the heroes shall flee naked in that day" (ii. 15, 16).

Man's own intelligence is here described, and confidence therefrom that he can reason from falsities against truths. By, "he that handleth the bow shall not stand, and the swift with the feet shall not deliver himself," is signified that he who knows how to reason readily and skilfully from the doctrine and the memory which belong to the natural man, cannot provide anything for his own salvation, or stand in the day of judgment. The same is signified by, he that rideth the horse shall not deliver his own soul. By the strong in heart who shall flee in that day, is signified that he who therefrom trusts in himself that he can reason from falsities, shall then be deprived of all truth; by the strong in heart is meant one who trusts in himself on that account, and by naked, is signified, deprived of all truth.

(References: Amos 2:14-16, Amos 2:15-16)


[23] In David:

"God is a just judge, God, who is angry all the day; if [the evil] will not return, he hath sharpened his sword, he hath bent his bow, and directed it, and hath prepared for him the instruments of death, he maketh his arrows burning" (Ps. vii. 11-13).

It is here attributed to God, that He is angry with the wicked, that He sharpens His sword, that He bends and directs His bow, prepares instruments of death, and makes His arrows burning; but the spiritual sense means that man acts thus to himself. Those things are attributed to God in the sense of the letter, because that sense is natural, and for the natural man who believes that God is to be feared on account thereof; and fear with him operates as love does afterwards, when he becomes spiritual. It is therefore evident what is here signified by those words, namely, that the wicked man is angry with God, that he sharpens the sword against himself, and bends the bow and directs it, prepares the instruments of death, and makes his arrows burning. By, he sharpeneth the sword, is signified that he procures to himself falsity by which he fights against truths; by, he bended the bow and directs it, is signified that from falsities he makes for himself doctrine against truths; and by he prepareth the instruments of death, and maketh his arrows burning, is signified that from infernal love he makes for himself principles of falsity, by which he destroys good and its truths.

(References: Psalms 7:11-13)


[24] In Lamentations:

The Lord "hath bent his bow like an enemy; he stood with his right hand as an adversary, he slew all the desirable things of the eyes" (ii. 4).

Here also similar things are attributed to the Lord, for a similar reason, as explained above. That He bends His bow like an enemy, and stands with His right hand like an adversary, signifies that the evil man does so to himself, that is, he defends evil against good, and falsity against its truths, from the doctrine which he has framed to himself from his own intelligence, and confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word. For in the Lamentations the vastation of all good and all truth with the Jewish nation, on account of the application of the sense of the letter of the Word to favour their own loves, is treated of; the bow there denotes the doctrine of falsity thence; the enemy denotes evil, and the adversary falsity. That, consequently, all understanding of truth and good perished, is signified by the Lord shall slay all the desirable things of the eyes, the desirable things of the eyes denoting all things belonging to intelligence and wisdom.

(References: Lamentations 1:1, 2:4)


[25] In Moses:

"A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall consume the earth with her produce, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will empty out evils upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them" (xxxii. 22, 23).

These words are in the song of Moses, in which the Israelitish and Jewish nation is treated of, and what they were in their heart is described, namely, that they had nothing of the church because there was absolute falsity from evil. By the earth and her produce which should be consumed, is signified the church, and all its truth and good; by the earth is signified the church, and by the produce, all its truth and good. By the foundations of the mountains which shall be set on fire, are signified truths upon which the goods of love are founded; specifically the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, because those are the foundations. By the evils that shall be emptied out upon them, and by the arrows which shall be spent upon them, is signified that they shall be imbued with all evils and falsities. What was the character of that nation from the beginning, and also what it is at this day, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 248.

(References: Deuteronomy 32:22-23; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 248)


[26] In the first book of Samuel:

"The bows of the mighty are broken, and they who were smitten were girded with strength" (ii. 4).

This is a prophetic declaration of Hannah the mother of Samuel, in which the deprivation of truth with those who belonged to the church is treated of, because they had no spiritual affection of truth; also concerning the reception and enlightenment of those who were outside the church, because they had a spiritual affection of truth. That the doctrines of falsities in which those were who belonged to the church are as nothing, is signified by, the bows of the mighty are broken; and the reception and enlightenment of those who were outside the church, are signified by, they who were smitten were girded with strength; those are called smitten, who are bound by the falsities of ignorance; and strength is predicated of power and abundance of truth from good.

(References: 1 Samuel 2:4)


[27] In Jeremiah:

"Behold, I break the bow of Elam, the beginning of his power" (xlix. 35).

By Elam is meant the knowledge (scientia) of the natural man, and confidence therefrom; by his bow is signified knowledge from which he fights as from doctrine; and by the beginning of his power is signified confidence; for knowledge avails nothing if it does not serve the rational and spiritual man. That by Elam is meant the knowledge which belongs to the natural man, is evident from those places where it is named in the Word (as Gen. x. 22; Isa. xxi. 2; Jer. xxv. 24-26; xlix. 34-39; Ezek. xxxii. 24).

(References: Ezekiel 32:24-25; Genesis 10:22; Isaiah 21:2; Jeremiah 25:24-26, 49:34-39, 49:35)


[28] In David:

Jehovah "maketh wars to cease even to the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear asunder; he burneth the chariots with fire" (Ps. xlvi. 10).

Because by wars are signified spiritual combats, which are here those of falsity against the truth and against the good which belong to the church, it is hence evident what is signified by, Jehovah shall make wars to cease even to the end of the earth, namely, that all combat, and all disagreement [should cease] from the first to the last of the truth of the church, the end of the earth signifying its last. That there shall be no combat of doctrine against doctrine, is signified by, He shall break the bow; that there shall be no combat from any falsity of evil, is signified by, He shall cut the spear asunder; and that everything of the doctrine of falsity shall be destroyed, by, He shall burn the chariots with fire.

(References: Psalms 46:9, Psalms 76:2-3)


[29] In the same:

"In Salem is the tabernacle" of Jehovah, "and his dwelling place in Zion. There brake he the strings of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle" (Ps. lxxvi. 1-3).

The cessation of all combat and all dissension in the Lord's kingdom is here also treated of. By Salem where Jehovah's tabernacle is, and by Zion where His dwelling place is, are signified His spiritual kingdom, and His celestial kingdom; by Salem, the spiritual kingdom, where genuine truth is; and by Zion, the celestial kingdom, where genuine good is; and by, He shall break the strings of the bow, the shield, the sword, and the battle, is signified the dispersion of all combat of the falsities of doctrine against good and truth; the strings of the bow denoting the principal things of doctrine.

(References: Psalms 76:2-3)


[30] In Hosea:

"In that day will I make a covenant for them with the beast of the field, and with the bird of the heavens, and with the creeping thing of the ground; and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle from off the earth, and I will make to lie down safely" (ii. 18).

The Lord's advent is here treated of, and then His conjunction with all those who are in truths from good. By the covenant with the beast of the field, with the bird of the heavens, and with the creeping thing of the ground, is signified conjunction with their affection of good, with their affection of truth, and with their affection for the knowledges of the truth and good that belong to the church; for the beast of the field signifies the affection of good; the bird of the heavens, the affection of truth; and the creeping thing of the ground, the affection for the knowledges of truth and good. That no beast, or bird, or reptile of the earth is here meant, every one sees; for how can any covenant be made with them? By, I will break the bow and the sword and the battle from off the earth, is signified that from conjunction with the Lord there shall exist no combat of falsity against truth; the bow here denotes doctrine, the sword denotes falsity, and the battle denotes combat.

(References: Hosea 2:18)


[31] In Ezekiel:

"This is the day whereof I have spoken, then the inhabitants of the cities of Israel shall go forth, and they shall set on fire and burn the arms, and the shield and the buckler, with the bow and with the arrows, and with the handstaff, and with the spear, and they shall kindle a fire with them seven years" (xxxix. 8, 9).

Gog is here treated of, by whom are meant those who are in external worship and not in internal; these, because they are opposed to the spiritual affection of truth, which is to love truths because they are truths, and hence are in falsities as to doctrine, and in evils as to life; for no one can be reformed, that is, withdrawn from falsities and evils, but by truths. This is the reason why it is said, that the inhabitants of the cities of Israel shall go forth, and they shall burn the arms, and the shield and the buckler, with the bow and with the arrows, and with the handstaff, and with the spear. By the inhabitants of the cities of Israel are meant those who are in the affection of truth from good, that is, in the spiritual affection of truth, and thence in the doctrine of genuine truth; by burning the arms is signified to extirpate falsities of every kind; by the shield, falsity destroying good; by the buckler, falsity destroying truth; by the bow with the arrows, doctrine with its falsities; by the handstaff and the spear are signified one's own power and confidence. Such are those who place everything of the church, and thence of salvation, in external worship. That they should kindle a fire with them seven years, signifies that those falsities and evils shall be altogether extinguished; seven years signifying all things, what is full, and altogether (as may be seen above, n. 257, 299).

(References: Amos 2:14-16; Ezekiel 39:8-9; Revelation 6:2; The Apocalypse Explained 257, 300)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 350, 370, 386, 388, 422, 433, 625, 657, 695, 724, 734, 866

Other New Christian Commentary

Break 1

Pleasant 1

Shame 1

Saul 1

Adulterous and treacherous men 1

Arrow and bow 1

Bow 1

Elam 1

Fowl 1

Fruitful one 1

Hand-staff and spear 1

Hannah 1

Quiver 1

Salem 1

Saul and Jonathan 1

Shoot in secret 1

Smitten 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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


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