The Bible

 

Genesis 1

King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 1: The Creation and Development of our Spiritual Life      

By Rev. William Woofenden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

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

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgement 20

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


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

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

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

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

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

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

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

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

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

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

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

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

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Bible Word Meanings

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

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

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

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

earth
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

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

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" represents a state where truth is lacking. Here's a cogent passage...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

land
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

seas
Water generally represents what Swedenborg calls “natural truth,” or true concepts about day-to-day matters and physical things. Since all water ultimately flows into the seas,...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

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

great
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

greater
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

female
Female signifies good.

given
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

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

Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

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


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


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

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


What the 7 Days of Creation Mean - Swedenborg and Life

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


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


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


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


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


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

Resources for parents and teachers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

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

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

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

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

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Fourth Day of Creation
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Apocalypse Explained #294

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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294. Because thou hast created all things. That this signifies that from Him is all existence and life, and heaven for those who receive is evident from the signification of creating, as denoting not only that all things exist from the Lord, but also that all life is from Him. And because the spiritual sense of the Word treats only of heaven and the church, therefore by creating is here primarily signified to reform, thus to give heaven to those who receive, for this is to reform. (That the existence of all things is from the Lord, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell 7-12 137; and that all life is from the Heaven and Hell 9, in the same work, and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 278). But by creating, in this passage, is not signified natural existence and life, but spiritual existence and life; this latter is everywhere signified by creating, when mentioned in the Word; the reason is that the existence of heaven and earth is not the end of creation, but a means to the end. The end of creation is, that the human race may exist and that from it there may be an angelic heaven; this therefore being the end, to create signifies to reform, which is to give heaven to those who receive. Ends are what are meant in the spiritual sense of the Word, but, in the sense of the letter, only the means which involve ends are mentioned; in this manner does what is spiritual lie hidden in the letter of the Word.

(References: Revelation 4:11)


[2] That to create signifies to reform and regenerate men, and so to establish the church, is evident from those passages in the Word where the term occurs; as in the following: In Isaiah:

"I will give in the wilderness the cedar of shittah, and the myrtle and the oil tree. That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of Jehovah hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it" (41:19, 20).

The subject here treated of is the establishment of the church among the nations; the wilderness signifies their not being in good because in ignorance of truth, for all good into which man is reformed is imparted only by truths. The cedar of shittah signifies genuine truths; the myrtle and the oil tree signify spiritual good and celestial good. It is evident therefore what is signified by giving in the wilderness the cedar of shittah, the myrtle and the oil tree, when treating of the nations who are not in the good of heaven and of the church, because in ignorance of truths. That they may see, and know, and consider and understand together, signifies the knowledges, understanding, perception and affection of the love of good and truth; from these significations it is evident that by the Holy One of Israel creating this is signified reformation; consequently, that to create is to reform.

(References: Isaiah 41:19-20)


[3] In the same:

"Thus saith Jehovah, thy Creator, O Jacob, and thy Former, O Israel; for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth; even every one that is called by my name I have created for my glory, I have formed and made. I, Jehovah, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King" (43:1, 6, 7, 15).

The subject here treated of is also the establishment of the church among the nations; and from their reformation, Jehovah, is called creator and former; therefore it is said, "I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine." Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth, signifies the nations that are out of the church but which receive its truths and goods from the Lord; from far, and from the end of the earth, signifying those who are out of the church, earth denoting the church, sons those who receive truths, and daughters those who receive goods; these are said to be created, formed and made for glory. Glory is the Divine truth which they receive.

(References: Isaiah 43:6-7)


[4] In David:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a firm spirit in the midst of me" (Psalms 51:10).

To create a clean heart signifies to reform as to the good of love; to renew a firm spirit in the midst of me, signifies to reform as to the truth of faith; for heart signifies the good of love, and spirit a life according to Divine truth, which is the faith of truth.

[5] Again:

"Wherefore hast thou created the sons of man in vain? Lord, where are thy former mercies?" (Psalms 89:47, 49).

To create the sons of man signifies to reform by means of Divine truth; the sons of man are all those who are in Divine truths, thus in the abstract Divine truths themselves.

[6] Again:

"The nations shall fear the name of Jehovah, and all the kings of the earth thy glory, because Jehovah hath built up Zion; it shall be written for the generation to come; and the people which shall be created shall praise Jah" (Psalms 102:15, 16, 18).

This passage treats of reformation. By the nations which shall fear the name of Jehovah are meant those who are in good; and by the kings of the earth, those who are in truths from good. By building Zion is signified to establish the church, Zion denoting the church; by the people which shall be created and shall praise Jah, are signified all those who are reformed.

(References: Psalms 102:15-16)


[7] Again:

"Thou givest to them, they gather; thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the faces of the earth" (Psalms 104:28, 30).

That to create here denotes to reform is evident; for by giving, and their gathering is signified that they receive the truths which are given by the Lord. By thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good is signified that they receive the good that flows from the Lord; by thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created, is signified that they are reformed as to life according to Divine truth; and by thou renewest the faces of the earth, is signified the establishment of the church.

[8] In Isaiah:

"Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by name; God from eternity; Jehovah, the creator of the ends of the earth, is not weary" (40:26, 28).

Here also reformation is treated of, which is signified by creating; by the host which Jehovah bringeth out are signified all truths and goods; by calling them all by name is signified reception according to the quality of every one; by creating the ends of the earth is signified the establishment of the church, thus the reformation of those who are therein.

[9] In Ezekiel:

"Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God, every precious stone was thy covering, in the days in which thou wast created, they were prepared. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day in which thou wast created, until perversity was found in thee" (28:13, 15).

These things are spoken of the king of Tyre, by whom are signified those who are in truths and thence in good; concerning whom it is said that they had been in the garden of God, and that every precious stone was their covering. By the garden of God is signified intelligence, and by the precious stones which are also named in the passage are signified the knowledges (cognitiones) of truth and good; these are called a covering, became they are in the natural man, and the natural man covers the spiritual. These are said to have been prepared in the day in which they were created, that is in the day in which they were reformed: hence it is evident what is meant by thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created.

[10] In Isaiah:

"Jehovah will create upon every dwelling of Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud by day and the shining of a flame of fire by night; for upon all the glory shall be a covering" (4:5).

By Zion is signified the church as to the Word; the internal or spiritual sense of the Word, as to good, is meant by the dwelling thereof; the external or literal sense, as to truths, is meant by the cloud by day, and as to good, by the shining of a flame of fire by night. This sense, because it covers, and is the repository of, the spiritual sense, is called a covering upon all the glory, glory denoting the spiritual sense; these are also said to be created, because they are the truths of heaven and the church.

[11] In Malachi:

"Hath not one God created us? wherefore do we act perfidiously?" (2:10).

Because by created us is signified reformed, that they might be a church, it is therefore said, "wherefore do we act perfidiously?"

[12] In Isaiah:

"Thus saith God, Jehovah, he that createth the heavens, and stretcheth them out; he that spreadeth forth the earth, giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein" (42:5).

By creating the heavens and stretching them out, and by spreading forth the earth, is signified to reform; by the heavens are signified both the heavens and the internals of the church - the internals of the church also are heavens with those who are in them; the earth signifies the externals of the church, which are said to be spread forth when truths from good are multiplied: that reformation by truths is hereby signified is evident, for it is said, "he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein."

[13] In the same:

"Jehovah, creating the heavens, forming the earth and making it. He hath not created it an emptiness, he formed it to be inhabited" (45:12, 18).

By heavens and by earth, and by creating, are signified similar things as in the passage adduced above. By not creating it an emptiness is signified that it is not without truth and good, in which they are who are reformed; the lack of these is emptiness. By he hath formed it to be inhabited, is signified that they should live according to good and truth, and from them; for to inhabit signifies to live.

[14] Again:

"Behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth. Be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold, I am about to create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people gladness" (65:17, 18).

By creating a new heaven and a new earth are not meant the visible heaven and the habitable earth, but a new church, internal and external, heaven denoting the internal of the church, and earth its external (what the internal of the church is, and what the external, may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 246); therefore it is said, "behold, I am about to create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people gladness." Jerusalem is the church, rejoicing its delight from good, and gladness its delight from truth. Similar things are signified by the new heavens and the new earth in the same prophet (66:22), and by the new heaven and the new earth in the Apocalypse (21:1).

(References: Isaiah 65:17-18)


[15] And similarly by the things in the first chapter of Genesis:

"In the beginning Jehovah created the heaven and the earth; and the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the faces of the abyss. And the spirit of God moved upon the faces of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God created man into his own image, into the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (1:1-3, 27).

This passage treats of the establishment of the first church on this earth; the reformation of the members of that church, as to their internal, and as to their external state, is meant by the creation of the heaven and the earth. That there was no church before, because men were without good and without truth, is signified by the earth being void and empty; and that they were then in dense ignorance and also in falsities, is signified by the darkness upon the faces of the abyss; their first enlightenment is signified by the spirit of God moving upon the faces of the waters, and by God saying, "Let there be light, and there was light." By the spirit of God is signified Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and by moving upon the faces of the waters is signified enlightenment; the same is signified by light; and by there was light is signified the reception of Divine truth. That God created man into His own image signifies that he was in the love of good and truth, and corresponded to heaven as its likeness. For the love of good and truth is an image of God, and hence also the angelic heaven is an image of God; therefore, in the sight of the Lord, it is as one man (as may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell 59-67, 68-72, 73-77, 78-86, 87-102). That He created them male and female signifies that He reformed them as to truth and as to good; male, in the Word, denotes truth, and female denotes good. From these considerations it is evident that it is not the creation of heaven and earth, but the new creation and reformation of those who composed the first church, which is described in this chapter and in the following chapters; and that similar things are there meant by the creation of heaven and earth as by the creation of the new heaven and new earth in the passages above adduced.

[16] That creation in the Word signifies reformation and the establishment of the church, which is effected by the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is also evident from these words in John:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. And the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory" (1:1-5, 9, 10, 14).

By the Word is here meant the Lord as to Divine truth. That all things were created by the Divine truth is meant by these words, "all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made"; also by these, "the world was made by him." And since by the Word is meant the Lord as to Divine truth, it is therefore said, "in him was life, and the life was the light of men; that was the true light"; light signifying Divine truth, and life all intelligence and wisdom therefrom; for this constitutes man's essential life, and life eternal is according to it. The presence of the Lord as Divine truth, with every one, from which come life and light, is meant by the light shining in darkness and enlightening every man that cometh into the world; but that those who are in the falsities of evil do not perceive, consequently, do not receive that truth, is meant by the darkness not comprehending, and by the world knowing him not; for darkness signifies the falsities of evil. That it is the Lord as to the Divine Human who is here meant by the Word is clearly manifest, for it is said, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory," glory also signifying Divine truth. (That all things were created by means of Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, which is here meant by the Word, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell 137, 139; and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 263). Hence also it is clear that to make or create here also signifies to make man new or to reform him; for here, as in the book of Genesis, mention is immediately made of light. (That by light is signified that proceeding Divine truth whereby all are reformed, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell 126-140, and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 49).

(References: John 1:9-10; Revelation 4:11)

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Apocalypse Explained 287, 297, 304, 315, 328, 342, 539, 609, 1057


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Translation by Isaiah Tansley. Many thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.

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Isaiah 42:5

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5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

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Explanation of Isaiah 42      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 42

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

1. BEHOLD My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delights: I will put My spirit upon Him; and He shall bring forth judgment to the nations.

VERSE 1. Treating of the Lord, who is understood by "the Elect of Jehovah"; and whereas by "the Spirit of Jehovah which was put upon Him" is signified the proceeding Divine, therefore by "the soul of Jehovah which was delighted in Him" is signified the Divine Truth; for in this Divine the Lord was as to His Humanity in the world. Apocalypse Explained 750.

I will put [or give] My spirit upon Him. - The "Spirit of Jehovah upon Him [the Lord]" is the Divine Truth, consequently Divine Wisdom and Intelligence. The Divine Truth is also called "Judgment which He will bring forth to the nations." Arcana Coelestia 9818.

For the meaning of "Spirit" in its various senses, see Chapter 11:2, the Exposition.

2. He shall not cry, nor lift up His voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street:

Verse 2. [It does not appear that Swedenborg bas quoted this verse, but viewed in connection with the following, of which he has given full interpretation, it would seem to imply that the Lord in His Divine Human would teach the Truth from infinite Divine Love, thus most gently and softly, without compelling, or in any sense constraining, the freedom and rationality of the human mind, which, in all the operations of His Providence, are kept inviolate. Divine Providence 96.]

3. The bruised reed He shall not break; and the smoking flax He shall not quench: He shall bring forth judgment into truth.

Verse 3. Treating concerning the Lord. By His "not breaking the bruised reed" is signified that He will not hurt the divine Truth sensual with the simple and with children; by "not quenching the smoking flax" is signified that He will not destroy the divine Truth which begins to live from a little Good of love with the simple and with children; "flax" denoting Truth, and "smoking" its living from some little degree of love. Inasmuch as both, that is, the "reed" and the "flax", are significative of Truth, therefore it is also said concerning the Lord, that He shall bring forth judgment into truth", by which is understood that He will produce in them intelligence; "judgment" denoting intelligence. "Reed " also signifies sensual or ultimate Truth, such as has place also with natural men, even the evil, as in the same Prophet:

"The parched ground shall become a pool; and there shall be grass instead of the reed and the rush." (Isaiah 35:7) Apocalypse Explained 627.

4. He shall not extinguish, nor break it, until He has established judgment in the earth: and the islands shall wait for His law.

Verse 4. These words also treat concerning the Lord, and the New Church to be established by Him. By the "islands" are understood those who are only in Truths from the natural man, and consequently who are as yet remote from true worship; hence by its being said "until He has established judgment in the earth, and the islands shall wait for His law", is signified until He has given intelligence to those who are of the church, and knowledges of Truth to those who are more remote from the church; to "establish judgment." is to give intelligence, and to "wait for the law" is to give the knowledges of Truth; for the "earth" signifies those who are in the church, and, abstractedly, the church itself as to intelligence from spiritual Truths; and the "isiands " signify those who are remote from the church, and, abstractedly, the church as to the knowledges of Truth and Good, or the church as to the Truths of the natural man corresponding with spiritual Truths. Apocalypse Explained 406. See also Arcana Coelestia 1158; Apocalypse Revealed 84.

5. Thus says the God, [even] Jehovah, who created the heavens, and stretched them out; who spread forth the earth, and the productions thereof; who giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk thereon:

Verse 5. By "creating the heavens, and stretching them out", and by "spreading forth the earth ", is signified to reform; by the "heavens" are signified both the heavens and the internals of the church; the internals of the church also are the "heavens" with the men who are therein. The "earth" signifies the externals of the church, which are said to be "spread forth and extended" when there is a multiplication of Truths derived from Good. That reformation by Truths is hereby signified, is evident, for it is said, "Who giveth soul [or breath] to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk thereon." Apocalypse Explained 294.

By "creating the heavens" and by" spreading forth the earth and its productions", is signified to form the church, and to reform those who are therein; its "productions" are all things of the church. Apocalypse Explained 304.

To "give breath [or soul, animam] to the people", is to give the life of faith. Arcana Coelestia 9818.

6. I Jehovah have called You in justice; and I will hold Your hand, and will preserve You; and I will give You for a covenant to the people, for a light to the nations:

7. To open the blind eyes; to bring the bound out of prison; and from the prison-house those that dwell in darkness.

8. I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

9. The former things, behold! they are come to pass; and new things do I declare: before they spring forth, I cause you to hear them.

Verse 6. These words are said of the Lord, who is called "the Covenant of the people, and the Light of the nations", because a "covenant" signifies conjunction, and "light" Divine Truth; by "peoples" are understood those who are in Truths, and by "nations" those who are in Goods, as may be seen, Apocalypse Explained 175, 331. To "call Him in justice" signifies that He may do justice by separating the evil from the good, and by saving these and condemning those; to "hold by the hand" and to "preserve [or guard] You" signifies to sustain by Divine Omnipotence, which the hells cannot resist; and by Jehovah "doing this" is signified the Divine in the Lord. Apocalypse Explained 701.

A "covenant", when mentioned in the Word, has the following significations. I. The Lord Himself is called a "Covenant", because conjunction [which is signified by a "covenant"] is from Him with Himself, by the Divine which proceeds from Him. II. The Divine Proceeding, which is the Divine Truth, thus the Word, is the covenant, because that conjoins. III. The precepts, judgments, and statutes given to the sons of Israel, were to them a covenant, because by them there was then conjunction with the Lord. IV. Moreover, whatsoever coujoins is called a covenant. All these significations of a "covenant" may be seen explained and confirmed in Apocalypse Explained 701.

Verses 6-8. These words treat concerning the Lord, that He is Jehovah, and that from Him is all wisdom, and nothing from man. That the Lord is Jehovah, is evident, for it is said that "Jehovah called Him in Justice", and also "I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another." That from Him is all wisdom which is of the life, is signified by "opening the blind eyes", and by " bringing the bound out of prison, and from the prison-house those that dwell [or sit] in darkness"; that nothing of wisdom is from man, is signified by "nor My praise to graven images." Arcana Coelestia 8869

These things are said concerning the Lord, and concerning the establishment of a church from Him amongst the nations. That they who were before in ignorance should then understand Truths, is signified by the "blind eyes" which He shall open; and that they should be led out from ignorance and from falsities, is denoted by "He shall bring the bound out of prison." That the Divine Itself would assume the Human, is understood by these words:

"I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another." Apocalypse Explained 239.

To "open the blind eyes" is to instruct those who as yet are ignorant of Truths but who, nevertheless, desire them; such persons are signified by the "nations." Apocalypse Explained 152.

Verses 6, 8. The "covenant of the people" and the "light of the nations" is the Lord with respect to the Human; and because this was from Jehovah, and made a One with Him, it is said, "I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not gIve to another"; that is, to no other than to Himself. To "give glory" is to glorify, or to unite to Himself. Doct. of Lord, 30.

10. Sing unto Jehovah a new song; His praise from the end of the earth: you that go down upon the sea, and the fulness thereof; you islands, and the inhabitants thereof.

Verses 10, 11. Treating concerning the advent of the Lord and concerning the establishment of the church with those who were out of the church, or with those who had not the Word, and to whom the Lord was not before known. To "sing a new song" signifies confession from joy of heart; and for "the end of the earth to sing His praise" signifies the confession of those who are remote from the church, - the "earth" denoting the church, and the "end of the earth" denoting where what appertains to the church terminates. By "the desert and the cities thereof, which shall lift up their voice", are signified those with whom there is not Good, because there is not Truth, which nevertheless they desire; "the inhabitants of the rock" signify the Good of faith, and "the head of the mountains "the Good of love appertaining to them; to "sing" and to "shout" signify consequent confession from joy of the mind and the heart. Apocalypse Explained 320.

Verses 10, 12. These words signify the worship of the Lord by those who are remote from the church, and, in an abstract sense, the worship of the natural man from Truths and Goods. To "sing a song" and to "praise" signifies worship from a glad mind: the "end of the earth" denotes those who are in the ultimates of the church, and, in an abstract sense, the ultimates of the church; "the sea, and the fulness thereof", signify the natural man and all things which are therein; "the islands, and the inhabitants ithereof", are the Truths and Goods of the natural man, - the "islands" the Truths thereof, and "inhabitants" the Goods thereof. By "let them give glory to Jehovah, and declare His praise in the islands", is signified worship from internals and externals; to "give glory" denotes worship from internals, and to " declare praise" worship from externals, for externals" declare", and "islands" are the Truths of the natural man from which such worship is performed. Apocalypse Explained 406.

It should be known that by the "end" [or the extremity] of heaven is not understood the extremity of space, but the state of what is Good and True; for in heaven there is no space, but the appearance thereof according to the state of what is Good and True. Arcana Coelestia 9666.

11. Let the desert lift up [its voice], and the cities thereof; the villages which Arabia doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing; let them shout from the head of the mountains.

12. Let them give glory to Jehovah; and declare His praise in the islands.

Verse 11: By the "desert" is signified an obscure principle of Truth; by "the cities thereof" are understood doctrinals: and by the "villages", natural knowledges and scientifics. By "Arabia" is signified the natural man, for "an Arabian in the desert" is the natural man; by the "inhabitants of the rock" are meant the Goods of faith, or those who are in the Goods of faith: and by "the head of the mountains" is signified the Good of love to the Lord. Hence it is manifest that confession and glad worship originating in the Good of love in such things as are mentioned, are here signified by every single thing in its order; for to "shout from the head of the mountains" denotes worship from the Good of love.Apocalypse Explained 405.

These things are said concerning the church with those who are remote from the Truths of the church, because they are natural and sensual; their state of ignorance is understood by the "desert", and their joy from the preaching and knowledge of the Truth is meant by their " lifting up their voice", etc. Arcana Coelestia 730.

13. Jehovah shall go forth like a Hero; like a Man of wars shall He stir up zeal: He shall cry, yea, He shall shout; He shall prevail against His enemies.

Verse 13. The Lord is called a "Man of war" chiefly from this circumstance, that whilst in the world, He alone, that is, from Himself fought against the hells, which then, for the most part, were opened, and which attacked and endeavoured to subdue all that came into the other life. The reason why the diabolic crew, that is, the hells, were then raging about in this manner [in the world of spirits] was, because the Divine passing through heaven, which before the coming of the Lord was the Divine Human, did not prevail against evils and falsities, which had so immensely increased; wherefore it pleased the Divine to assume the Human and to make it Divine, and then, at the same time, by combats admitted into Himself, to cast down that diabolic crew into the hells, to shut them up therein, and to subject them to the heavens; and at the same time also to reduce the heavens into order. From these combats the Lord was first called a "Man of war"; and afterwards, because He had thus conquered the hells, and had been made "Justice", He from His divine power protects men, and this continually, and. especially in the combats of temptations. Arcana Coelestia 8273.

As to "wars", when mentioned in the Word, see Chapter 7:1, and especially below, Chapter 63:1-5, the Exposition.

Concerning "the zeal of Jehovah", see Chapter 9:7, the Exposition.

In respect to "ternptations", and their necessity in effecting man's regeneration, see Chapter 43:2, the Exposition.

14. I have long been silent; I have been still, and refrained Myself: now I will cry out like a woman in travail; I will destroy and swallow up at once.

Verse 14. [These words imply the Lord's divine forbearance and long-suffering until the period of Judgment comes, when its effects are denoted by "I will destroy and swallow up at once"; and the pain which those will suffer on being deprived of the possession in their external man of those Goods and Truths which they had assumed for the purpose of selfish ends, as of honour and gain, is denoted by "the crying out as of a woman in travail." As to this latter clause, see-Chapter 13:8, the Exposition.]

15. I will lay waste the mountains and the hills, and dry up all their herbs: I will make the rivers islands; and I will dry up the pools.

Verse 15. By "laying waste or devastating the mountains and the hills" is signified to destroy all the Good of love to the Lord, and of love to the neighbour; by "drying up all the herbs" is meant thence to destroy all Truths, - "herb" denoting Truth springing from Good. By "making the rivers into islands, and drying up the pools", is signified to annihilate all the understanding and perception of Truth; "rivers" signifying intelligence which is of Truth, "islands" where there is no intelligence, and "pools" the perception of Truth. The understanding of Truth is from the light of Truth, but the perception of Truth is from the heat or Love of Truth. Apocalypse Explained 405.

Inasmuch as most things in the Word have an opposite sense, so "islands", in that sense, signify the falsities opposite to the Truths which are in the natural man. In this sense "islands" are mentioned in the above passage. Apocalypse Explained 406.

16. And I will lead the blind in a way which they have not known; and through paths which they have not known will I make them go: I will make darkness light before them; and crooked things into straightness. These things will I do unto them, and will not forsake them,

Verse 16. In this passage "darkness" signifies the falsities of ignorance, such as formerly existed, and at this day exists with the upright nations or Gentiles. These falsities are altogether distinct from the falsities of evil, for the latter contain in themselves evil, because they are from evil, whereas the former contain in themselves Good, for they have Good for an end; wherefore they who are principled in these falsities can be instructed in Truths, and also when they are instructed they receive Truth in the heart, by reason that the Good, which is in their falsities, loves the Truth, and also conjoins itself with the Truth, when it is heard. The case is otherwise with the falsities of evil; these are averse from, and spit out, all Truth, and this for no other reason than because it is Truth, and thus does not agree with evil. "Darkness" also signifies in the Word mere ignorance arising from the deprivation or Truth, as in David. (Psalm 18:28; 139:11, 12) "Darkness" also signifies natural lumen, for this, in respect to spiritual light, is as darkness; wherefore also the angels, when they look down into the natural lumen of man, such as is in the natural thought of rnen, regard it as darkness, and the things which are in it as in darkness. This lumen is signified by the "darkness" in Genesis 1:2-5; and inasmuch as the literal sense of the Word is natural, therefore this also in the Word is called a "cloud", and also "darkness", in respect to the internal sense, which is the light of heaven, and is called "glory." Apocalypse Explained 526.

17. They shall be turned backward, they shall be greatly ashamed who trust in the graven image, who say unto the molten image, You are our gods!

Verse 17. What is meant by "going backward", see Chapter 1:4, the Exposition. ln respect to "graven and molten images", or "idols", see Chapter 2:20; 40:18-20; 41:7, the Exposition.

18. Hear, O you deaf! and look, you blind, that you may see!

Verse 18. The "deaf" are those who do not perceive what is True, and who hence do not obey it; thus, abstractedly, "deafness" signifies the non-perception of Truth, and hence non-obedience. Thus to be "deaf" signifies these things, is because the "hearing" corresponds both to perception and to obedience, to perception, because those things which are heard are inwardly perceived; and to obedience, because hence it is known what should be done. That this is the correspondence of "hearing" and also of the "ear", may be seen, Arcana Coelestia 3809, 4052-4660; hence it is evident what is signified by the "deaf." In the Word, by the "deaf" are also understood the Gentiles, who do not know the Truths of faith, because they have not the Word, and therefore cannot live according to them; when, however, they are instructed, they receive these Truths, and live according to them. These are understood in Isaiah:

"Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened; and the ears of the deaf unstopped." (Isaiah 35:5)

Again,

"Hear, O you deaf! and look, you blind, that you may see!" (Isaiah 42:18)

"In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book", etc. (Isaiah 29:18)

Again,

"Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears", etc. (Isaiah 43:8, 9)

Here by the "deaf" are understood those who, by the coming of the Lord, could come into a state of receiving the Truths of Faith, that is, of perceiving them and of obeying them. The same are understood by the "deaf" whom the Lord cured. (Mark 7:31-37; 9:25)

Because the "deaf" in a good sense] signify such persons, it was forbidden those, with whom the representative church was established, to "curse the deaf", and to "cast a stumbling-block before the blind.' (Leviticus 19:14) Arcana Coelestia 6989.

19. Who is blind, but My Servant? or deaf, as My Angel whom I have sent? who is blind as He who is perfect, and blind as the Servant of Jehovah ?

20. Seeing many things, but You observest not; opening the ears, He hears not.

Verses 19, 20. These words are spoken of the Lord, who is treated of in the whole of this chapter, and is here called a "Servant" as to His Divine Human, because He served His Father by "doing His will", as He frequently declared, whereby is understood that He reduced to order all things in the spiritual world, and, at the same time, taught mankind the way to heaven. It is therefore the Divine Human which is understood by "My Servant, whom I uphold; and Mine Elect, in whom My soul delights"; and it is called "Servant" from Divine Truth, whereby those things were effected, and "Elect" from Divine Good. That He had Divine Truth whereby He effected all things, is understood by "I will put My spirit upon Him, and He shall bring forth judgment to the nations; the "spirit of Jehovah" is the Divine Truth, and to "bring forth judgment to the nations" is to instruct. The reason of His being called "blind" and "deaf" is, because the Lord is as if He did not see and perceive the sins of men, for He leads men gently, "bending and not breaking", and so withdrawing them from evils and leading them to Good; wherefore neither does He chastise nor punish, as if He saw and perceived. This is what is understood by "Who is blind, but My Servant? or deaf, as My Angel?" "Blind" and "Servant" being mentioned with relation to Divine Truth, and "deaf" and "Angel" with relation to Divine Good; for "blind" has relation to the understanding, and thence to perception, and "deaf" has relation to perception, and thence to the will. By these words, therefore, is understood that the Lord appears not to see, although the Divine Truth is His from which He understands all things, and that He appears not to will according to what He perceives, although the Divine Good is His from which all things are possible to Him. Apocalypse Explained 409.

21. But Jehovah was well pleased on account of His justice; He has magnified the law, and made it honourable.

Verse 21. He has magnified the law, and made it honourable [or rather illustriousJ. - [It does not appear that Swedenborg has quoted this verse, but it implies, we apprehend, that the Lord, by the glorification of His Humanity, has filled the "Law", that is, the Word, with a greater abundance of His divine "spirit and life." See John 10:10; also Isaiah 30:25, 26, the Exposition.]

22. But this is a people spoiled and plundered; all their young men are taken in the snare, and are hidden in the prison-houses: they are become a prey, and there was none to deliver; a spoil, and no one said, Restore.

23. Who is there among you that will give ear to this; that will hearken, and attend to it, for the aftertime?

Verse 22. All their young men are hidden in the prison-houses, etc. "Young men", in the internal sense, are the Truths of faith, which are said to be "hidden" and to "become a prey", when they are no longer acknowledged. Arcana Coelestia 5037 Arcana Coelestia 5037[1-6].

As to "young men", both in a good and in a bad sense, see above, Chapter 31:8, the Exposition.

24. Who has given Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the plunderers? Is it not Jehovah; He against whom we have sinned; in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law' they would not obey?

25. Therefore poured He out upon them the burning of His angel, and the violence of war: and it kindled a flame round about Him, yet He did not regard it; and it burned Him, yet He did not lay it to heart.

Verse 24. That to "walk" signifies to live, and, when predicated of the Lord, Life itself, is from appearances in the spiritual world, where all walk according to their life, the evil in no other ways than such as lead to hell, but the good in no other ways than in such as lead to heaven; wherefore all spirits are known there from the ways wherein they walk. There actually appear also ways, but to the evil no other than ways to hell, and to the good no other than ways to heaven, by which means everyone is brought to his own society. From this circumstance it is, that to "walk" signifies to live. Concerning these "ways" and "walking" therein, in the spiritual world, see what is said in the work on Heaven and Hell 195, 479; and in the small work on the Last Judgment 48. Apocalypse Explained 97.

Verses 2, 1, 25. "The heat [or burning] of His anger" signifies repugnance against the false of evil. "Jacob" here [meaning those "who have sinned against Jehovah"] stands for those who are in evil, and "Israel" for those who are in the false of evil. "Wrath" [or burning, excandescentia] and "anger" [ira] are often mentioned in the Word, but in the internal sense they do not signify wrath and anger, but that which is repugnant; and this because whatsoever is repugnant to any affection produces wrath or anger, so that in the internal sense these things are only repugnances; it is called "wrath" because it is repugnant to Truth, and "anger" because it is repugnant to Good. But, in the opposite sense, "wrath" is that which is repugnant to the false and its affection, that is, to the principles of the false; and "anger" that which is repugnant to evil and its cupidity, that is, to the love of self and of the world, and in this sense "wrath" is properly wrath, and "anger" is properly anger; but, when they are predicated of Good and Truth, "wrath" and "anger" are then properly zeal, which, because in the external form it appears similar to "wrath" and "anger" in a bad sense, it is hence, in the literal sense, also so called. Arcana Coelestia 3614.

In respect to "anger", when ascribed to Jehovah, see above, Chapter 1:24; 9:12, 17, 21, the Exposition.

That "fire" is anger from the affection of evil, is because anger is thence derived: for when that which a man loves is impugned, a fiery principle bursts forth, and as it were burns. Hence it is that anger is described in the Word by "fire", and it is said to burn, as in Isaiah 42:25; Psalm 18:8. Arcana Coelestia 9143.

---
Isaiah Chapter 42

1. BEHOLD My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delights: I will put My spirit upon Him; and He shall bring forth judgment to the nations.

2. He shall not cry, nor lift up His voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street:

3. The bruised reed He shall not break; and the smoking flax He shall not quench: He shall bring forth judgment into truth.

4. He shall not extinguish, nor break it, until He has established judgment in the earth: and the islands shall wait for His law.

5. Thus says the God, [even] Jehovah, who created the heavens, and stretched them out; who spread forth the earth, and the productions thereof; who giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk thereon:

6. I Jehovah have called You in justice; and I will hold Your hand, and will preserve You; and I will give You for a covenant to the people, for a light to the nations:

7. To open the blind eyes; to bring the bound out of prison; and from the prison-house those that dwell in darkness.

8. I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

9. The former things, behold! they are come to pass; and new things do I declare: before they spring forth, I cause you to hear them.

10. Sing unto Jehovah a new song; His praise from the end of the earth: you that go down upon the sea, and the fulness thereof; you islands, and the inhabitants thereof.

11. Let the desert lift up [its voice], and the cities thereof; the villages which Arabia doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing; let them shout from the head of the mountains.

12. Let them give glory to Jehovah; and declare His praise in the islands.

13. Jehovah shall go forth like a Hero; like a Man of wars shall He stir up zeal: He shall cry, yea, He shall shout; He shall prevail against His enemies.

14. I have long been silent; I have been still, and refrained Myself: now I will cry out like a woman in travail; I will destroy and swallow up at once.

15. I will lay waste the mountains and the hills, and dry up all their herbs: I will make the rivers islands; and I will dry up the pools.

16. And I will lead the blind in a way which they have not known; and through paths which they have not known will I make them go: I will make darkness light before them; and crooked things into straightness. These things will I do unto them, and will not forsake them,

17. They shall be turned backward, they shall be greatly ashamed who trust in the graven image, who say unto the molten image, You are our gods!

18. Hear, O you deaf! and look, you blind, that you may see!

19. Who is blind, but My Servant? or deaf, as My Angel whom I have sent? who is blind as He who is perfect, and blind as the Servant of Jehovah ?

20. Seeing many things, but You observest not; opening the ears, He hears not.

21. But Jehovah was well pleased on account of His justice; He has magnified the law, and made it honourable.

22. But this is a people spoiled and plundered; all their young men are taken in the snare, and are hidden in the prison-houses: they are become a prey, and there was none to deliver; a spoil, and no one said, Restore.

23. Who is there among you that will give ear to this; that will hearken, and attend to it, for the aftertime?

24. Who has given Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the plunderers? Is it not Jehovah; He against whom we have sinned; in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law' they would not obey?

25. Therefore poured He out upon them the burning of His angel, and the violence of war: and it kindled a flame round about Him, yet He did not regard it; and it burned Him, yet He did not lay it to heart.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 42


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 25, 7673, 9596, 9818

Apocalypse Revealed 254

Doctrine of the Lord 49

True Christian Religion 773


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 294, 304, 750

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 23

Related New Christian Commentary

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Isaiah 40:22, 45:12, 57:16

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Ezekiel 18:4

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Resources for parents and teachers

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 By a Way They Did Not Know
Two fun activities inspired by these words in Isaiah 42: “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know. I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make the darkness light before them, and crooked places straight.”
Activity | Ages 3 - 7

 Gentle Leading
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 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: Holy Is His Name
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 The Lord God Jesus Christ
Worship Talk | Ages over 18


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