The Bible

 

Genesis 1

English: King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

True 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.

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

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
'Waters,' 'rivers,' and 'depths,' as in Psalm 78:15-16, signify truths from the Lord.

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

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

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

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

called
To 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...

second
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...

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

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...

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
'Stars' signify the knowledge of truth and good. 'Stars' are frequently mentioned in the Word, and always signify goods and truths, but in an opposite...

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
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.

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,...

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

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

female
Female signifies good.

meat
'Provision' or 'meat,' as in Genesis 42:25 and Psalm 78:25, signifies support from truth and good.

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 #513

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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513. And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had lives, died.- That this signifies that every living scientific in the natural man died, is clear from the signification of dying as denoting to perish spiritually, or as to the life of heaven; and from the signification of third part, as denoting all (see above, n. 506); and from the signification of the creatures in the sea, or fishes, which denote scientifics, of which we shall speak presently; and from the signification of having lives, as denoting to be alive. Therefore by the third part of the creatures in the sea that had lives dying, is signified the perishing of every living scientific. A living scientific means a scientific which derives life from spiritual affection; for this affection gives life to truths, and consequently life to scientifics, scientifics being the containants of spiritual truths, as may be seen above (n. 506, 507, 511).

(References: Revelation 8:9; The Apocalypse Explained 506, 506-507, 511)


[2] The reason why the creatures of the sea, or fishes, signify scientifics is, that the sea signifies the natural man, and therefore the fishes in the sea signify scientifics themselves in the natural man. That fish signify these things is also from correspondence; for spirits who are not in spiritual truths, but in natural truths only, which are scientifics, appear in the spiritual world in seas like fish, when seen by those who are above. It is their thoughts, which proceed from the scientifics which they possess, that have this appearance. For all the ideas of the thought of angels and of spirits are turned into various representatives outside of them; when into such things as belong to the vegetable kingdom, they are changed into trees and shrubs of various kinds; but when into such things as belong to the animal kingdom, they are turned into animals of the earth, and into birds of various kinds. When the ideas of the angels of heaven are turned into animals of the earth, they are changed into lambs, sheep, she-goats, heifers, horses, mules, and others of a similar kind; but when into birds, they are turned into turtle-doves, doves, and many kinds of beautiful birds; but on the other hand the ideas of the thought of those who are natural, and think from scientifics alone, are turned into the forms of fishes. For this reason various species of fish appear in the seas, which I have been often permitted to see.

(References: Isaiah 50:2)


[3] Hence it is that in the Word fishes signify scientifics as in the following places.

In Isaiah:

"At my rebuke, I dry up the sea; I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish shall grow putrid, because there is no water, and shall die of thirst" (l. 2).

The rebuke of Jehovah means the destruction of the church, which comes to pass when there is no knowledge of good and truth, or no living cognition, because no perception. Drying up the sea, signifies to deprive the natural man of scientific truths, and thence of natural derived from spiritual life. To make the rivers a wilderness, has a similar signification in regard to the rational man, in consequence of which there is no longer any intelligence; their fish becoming putrid, because there is no water, and dying of thirst, signifies that the scientific is no longer alive, because not true, fish denoting what is scientific, water, truth, while to grow putrid, denotes to die as to spiritual life.

(References: Isaiah 50:2)


[4] It is said here similarly of the sea that the third part of it became blood, and that thence a third part of the creatures therein died. Also it is said of Egypt that its river and all its waters became blood, and that in consequence the fish died. Moses told Pharaoh that the waters of the river should be turned into blood, and that the fish should consequently die, and the river stink, so that the Egyptians would loathe to drink of the waters of the river. This also took place with all the water in Egypt (Exod. vii. 17-20).

Concerning this circumstance it is thus written in David:

"He turned their waters into blood, and killed their fish" (Psalm. cv. 29).

The reason why similar things were done in Egypt is, that Egypt signified the natural man as to the scientifics thereof, or the scientific of the natural man. The river of Egypt signifies intelligence procured by means of scientifics; the river being turned into blood, signifies that that intelligence is from pure falsities; by the fish dying, is signified that scientific truths perished by falsities, for scientifics live by truths but perish by falsities, the reason of which is, that all spiritual truth is living, and the entire life or, as it were, the soul in scientifics is thence, wherefore without spiritual truth, the scientific is dead.

(References: Exodus 7:17-25; Psalms 105:29)


[5] In Ezekiel:

"Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great whale that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made myself. But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales. And I will leave thee in the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers" (xxix. 3, 4, 5).

Pharaoh has a similar signification to Egypt, the king like the people signifies the natural man, and the scientific therein. On this account he is called a great whale. For a whale or sea monster signifies what is scientific in general, and therefore it is said that he shall be drawn out of the river, and that the fish shall stick to his scales, which signifies that all intelligence would perish, and that the knowledge (scientia) in the sensual man in the place of it would be without life. In the sensual man, which is the lowest natural man lying nearest to the world, there are fallacies and thence falsities, and this is signified by the fish adhering to the scales of the whale. That the natural man, and what is scientific therein, would be without life from any intelligence, is signified by, "I will leave thee in the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers." That such things would come to pass through the natural man ascribing all intelligence to itself, is signified by the words, "which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made myself," river denoting intelligence.

(References: Ezekiel 29:3-5)


[6] In Moses:

The sons of Israel in the wilderness said, "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick; but now our soul is dried up; there is nothing at all beside this manna before our eyes. Afterwards a wind went forth from Jehovah, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall over the camp." But because of their lust "Jehovah smote the people with a very great plague; and the name of that place was called the graves of lust (Kibroth-hattaavah)" (Num. xi. 5, 6, 31, 33, 34).

These words signify that the sons of Israel turned away from spiritual things, and greedily desired natural things; for they were merely natural, and not spiritual, only representing the spiritual church by external things. That they turned away from spiritual things, is signified by their saying "our soul is dried up, there is nothing at all beside this manna before our eyes," manna signifying spiritual food, which is knowledge (scientia), intelligence, and wisdom. That they greedily desired natural things, is signified by their lusting after the fish of Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlick; all these signify such things as pertain to the lowest natural, that is, to the corporeal sensual man; and because they rejected spiritual things, and desired merely natural things instead of them, therefore they were smitten with a great plague, and the name given to the place was "the graves of lust."

(References: Numbers 11:4-6, 11:5-6, 11:31, 11:33-34)


[7] In Ezekiel:

He said unto me, "These waters issue out toward the eastern border, and go down into the plain, and go towards the sea; which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed, therefore it comes to pass, that every living soul which creepeth, whithersoever the rivers come, shall live whence a very great multitude of fish. Therefore it comes to pass that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi, even unto En-eglaim; in the spreading of nets they are present; their fish shall be according to their kind, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt" (xlvii. 1, 8-11).

The subject here is the house of God which signifies heaven and the church; and the waters issuing out of the house of God towards the east, signify the Divine Truth reforming and regenerating; by the plain and by the sea into which the waters descend, are signified the ultimates of heaven and the church, which, with the men of the church, are those things that pertain to the natural and sensual man; by the plain are signified the interior things thereof, and by the sea, the exterior things thereof. That knowledges from the Word, as well as confirmatory scientifics, receive spiritual life by means of that Divine Truth, is signified by the waters of the sea being thence healed, and by every living soul which creepeth, and by there being a great multitude of fish; that there shall thence be true and living scientifics of every kind, is signified by the fish being according to their kind, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. Those who are reformed, and thence become intelligent, are meant by the fishers from Engedi, even to En-eglaim. Those who cannot be reformed, because they are in the falsities of evil, are signified by the miry places and marshes, which are not healed, and are given to salt. That fishes multiplied by waters issuing out of the house of God are not here meant, every one can see, but that fishes mean such things in man as can be reformed, because the house of God means heaven and the church, and the waters issuing therefrom mean the Divine Truth reforming.

(References: Ezekiel 47:1, 47:8-11)


[8] In the Word throughout, mention is made of the beast of the earth, the bird of heaven, and the fish of the sea, and he who does not know that the beast of the earth, or of the field, means the Voluntary of man, the bird of heaven, his Intellectual, and the fish of the sea, his Scientific, cannot at all know the meaning of those expressions; as in the following passages.

In Hosea:

"Jehovah hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the earth, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the earth. Therefore shall the earth mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall pine away, among the beast of the field, and among the bird of the heavens; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away" (iv. 1, 3).

In Zephaniah:

"I will consume man and beast, I will consume the bird of the heavens, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling-blocks with the wicked" (i. 3).

In Ezekiel:

"In the day when God shall come against the land of Israel, there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, and the fishes of the sea, and the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the field, shall tremble before my presence" (xxxviii. 18, 19, 20).

In Job:

"Ask the beasts, and they shall teach thee; or the birds of the heaven, and they shall tell thee; or the thicket of the earth, and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not from all these that the hand of Jehovah doeth that?" (xii. 7-9).

In these passages, the beasts of the field mean the Voluntary of man, the birds of the heavens, his Intellectual; and the fish of the sea, his Scientific. For what other reason would it be said, "the beasts shall teach thee, the birds of the heaven shall tell thee, and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee that the hand of Jehovah doeth this?" It is also said, "Who knoweth not from all these?"

(References: Acts of the Apostles 12:7-9; Ezekiel 38:18-20; Hosea 4:1, 4:3; Job 12:7-9; Zephaniah 1:3)


[9] Similarly in David:

"Thou hast made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet. The flock and all herds, the beasts of the fields; the bird of the heaven, and the fish of the sea, passing through the paths of the sea" (Psalm viii. 6-8).

These things are said concerning the Lord, and His dominion. That He has dominion over the angels in the heavens, and over man on the earth, is known from the Word, for He Himself says, that all power is given to Him in heaven and on earth (Matt. xxviii. 18). But that dominion was given to Him over animals, birds, and fishes, is not of sufficient importance to be mentioned in the Word, where all things, even the most minute, have reference to heaven and the church. It is evident therefore that the flock and the herds, the beasts of the field, the bird of the heaven, and the fish of the sea, mean such things as pertain to heaven with the angels, and to the church with man. The flock and the herds signify, in general, spiritual things and natural things; the flock, spiritual things; and herds, natural things pertaining to man, or those things that belong to his spiritual mind and to his natural mind. Beasts of the field signify voluntary things, which pertain to the affections; the birds of heaven, intellectual things, which pertain to the thoughts; and fishes of the sea, things scientific, which pertain to the natural man.

(References: Matthew 28:18; Psalms 8:6-8)


[10] Similar things are signified by these words in the first chapter of Genesis:

"God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; in order that they may have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the bird of the heaven, and over every animal creeping upon the earth" (verses 26-28).

The subject of that chapter, in the internal spiritual sense, is the establishment of the Most Ancient Church, thus the new creation or regeneration of the men of that church. That it was granted them to perceive all things of their affection, which are of the will, and to see all things of their thought, which are of the understanding, and so to rule those things, lest they should fall away into the lusts of evil and into falsities, is meant by the words, "in order that they may have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the bird of the heaven, and over every animal of the earth." And man rules over these when the Lord rules over man, for man of himself cannot rule over any thing in himself. Such things are signified by the fish of the sea, the bird of the heaven, and the beast of the field, because they correspond. In the spiritual world it is made clear to the sight that the interior things of man correspond to such things; for there beasts of every kind appear, also birds, and in the seas, fishes which are nevertheless nothing else but the ideas of thought which flow forth from the affections and are presented to view under such forms, because they correspond.

(References: Genesis 1:26, 1:28)


[11] Because fishes signify the scientifics and knowledges of the natural man, which are to the spiritual man the means of becoming wise, therefore fishers, in the Word, mean those who are in knowledges only, and who procure knowledges for themselves, and also those who teach others, and reform them by means of knowledges. This work of theirs is meant by the casting and spreading of nets, as in the following passages.

In Isaiah:

"The fishers shall mourn, and all they that cast the hook into the river shall be sad, and they that spread the net upon the faces of the waters shall languish" (xix. 8).

Here the fishers that cast the hook into the river, and they that spread the net, mean those who desire to procure for themselves cognitions, and by means of them intelligence here that they are not able, because the cognitions of truth no where exist.

(References: Isaiah 19:8)


[12] In Jeremiah:

"I will bring again" the sons of Israel "into their land, I will send for many fishers, saith Jehovah, and they shall fish them; then will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks" (xvi. [15,] 16).

By sending for fishers to fish them, and for hunters to hunt them, is meant to call together and establish the church with those who are in natural good, and in spiritual good, as may be seen above (n. 405:7).

(References: Jeremiah 16:15-16; The Apocalypse Explained 405)


[13] And in Habakkuk:

"Wherefore makest thou man as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping thing that hath none to rule it. Let him draw out all of them with a hook and gather him into his net. Shall he therefore empty his net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?" (i. 14, 15, 17).

These things are said concerning the Chaldean nation vastating and destroying the church; the Chaldean nation signifying the profanation of truth, and the vastation of the church. To make men as the fishes of the sea, and as the reptile that hath none to rule it, signifies to make man so natural, that his scientifics are without spiritual truth, and his pleasures without spiritual good. For in the natural man there are scientifics by means of which there are thoughts, and pleasures, and by means of these there are affections; if the spiritual man does not rule over these, both thoughts and affections are wandering, and thus man is destitute of the intelligence, which should teach and rule him. That in this case they can be drawn over to their side by every falsity and evil and so destroyed altogether, is signified by, "let him draw out all of them with a hook, and gather into his net, and afterwards he shall slay." To draw out means away from truth and good; into his net, means into falsity and evil; and to slay, denotes to destroy.

(References: Habakkuk 1:14-15, 1:17)


[14] In Amos:

"The days shall come in which they shall draw you out with hooks, and your posterity with fish-hooks" (iv. 2).

These words signify that they would be led by subtle reasonings from falsities and fallacies, and be turned away from truths. These things are said concerning those who abound in knowledges because they have the Word and the prophets, and they are meant there by the kine of Bashan in the mountain of Samaria. From these things it is now evident what is meant by fishermen, fishes, and nets, so often mentioned in the New Testament, as in the following passages:

(References: Amos 4:2)


[15] "And Jesus saw two brethren, Simon, called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. iv. 18, 19; Mark i. 16, 17).

And in another place it is said that Jesus, having entered into Simon's ship, taught the multitude, and afterwards told Simon to let down their nets for a draught, and they caught a great multitude of fish, so that their ships were filled, and began to sink; and they were all astonished at the draught of fish; and He said to Simon, Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men (Luke v. 3-10).

In these words also there is a spiritual sense, just as in the other parts of the Word. The Lord's choosing the fishermen, and saying that they should become fishers of men, signified that they should gather men to the church; the nets which they let down, and in which they inclosed a great multitude of fish, so that the ships began to sink, signified the reformation of the church by their means; for fishes there signify the knowledges of truth and good by which reformation takes place, also the multitude of men who would be reformed.

(References: Luke 5:3-10; Mark 1:16-17, 1:17, 1:18; Matthew 4:18-19)


[16] Similar things are also signified by the draught of fish taken by the disciples after the resurrection of the Lord, concerning which it is stated in John, that when Jesus showed Himself to His disciples who were fishing, He told them to cast their net on the right side of the ship; and they caught and were not able to draw the net for the multitude of fish. And after they came to land they saw a hearth [or fire of coals] there and a little fish laid thereon, and bread, and similarly Jesus gave them bread and fish (xxi. 2-13). The reason why the Lord showed Himself to His disciples while they were fishing, was, that to fish signified to teach the cognitions of truth and good, and so to reform. He commanded them to cast the net on the right side of the ship, which signifies that all things are from the good of love and of charity; for the right signifies the good from which they are; for cognitions live, and multiply so far as they are recipients of good. They said also, that they had laboured all the night, and taken nothing, which signifies that nothing was from themselves or their proprium, but everything was from the Lord. Similar also was the signification of the hearth [or fire of coals] on which there was a little fish, and of the bread; for the bread signified the Lord, and the good of love from Him, and the little fish upon the hearth the knowledge of truth from good; the little fish, the knowledge of truth, and the hearth or fire, good. At that time there were not any spiritual men, for the church was wholly vastated, but all were natural, the reformation of these was represented by that fishing, and also by the fish upon the hearth. He who supposes that the fish upon that hearth and the bread given to the disciples to eat are not significative of something of a higher nature, is much mistaken. For everything that the Lord did and said, signified celestial Divine things, which are made evident only by the spiritual sense. That a hearth and fire, denote the good of love, and bread the Lord as to that good, has been shown above; and that fish denote the cognition of truth, and the Scientific of the natural man, is evident from what has been said and shown in this article.

(References: John 21:2-13)


[17] The Lord also says that:

"The kingdom of the heavens is like unto a net (sagena), that was cast into the sea, and which gathered of every kind; which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be in the consummation of the age" (Matt. xiii. 47-49).

The separation of the good and the evil is here likened to a net cast into the sea which gathered of every kind of fish, because fish signify natural men as to scientifics and cognitions, and these, in the consummation of the age, or at the time of a last judgment, are separated. For there are good natural men and wicked natural men, the separation of whom in the spiritual world appears like a net (rete) or drag-net (sagena) cast into the sea, drawing the fish together, and bringing them to shore. This appearance is from correspondence, therefore the Lord likened the kingdom of the heavens to a net (sagena) which drew the fish together. That such is the appearance of the separation of the good from the evil, I have also seen.

(References: Matthew 13:47-49)


[18] That natural men are signified by fish, is evident from this miracle of the Lord:

"They that received the half shekel (didrachma) came." Jesus said to Simon, "Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own sons, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the sons free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money (stater); that take, and give unto them for me and thee" (Matthew xvii. 24-27).

The paying of tribute or custom signified subjection and servitude; therefore tribute was levied on strangers, who were not of the sons of Israel, as is clear from the historical parts of the Word. The sons of Israel, with whom the church was, signified those who are spiritual, and strangers, those who are natural. The Natural is subject to the Spiritual, and serves it, for the spiritual man is as a lord, and the natural man as a servant; and because the natural are servants, and thus are meant by those who are tributary, therefore it came to pass that neither the Lord nor Peter paid tribute, but the fish, by which the natural man is signified.

That the Lord glorified His Human even to its ultimate, which is called natural and sensual, is signified by the following:

Jesus showed Himself to His disciples and said, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I; handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And he showed them his hands and his feet, and said unto them, Have ye here any meat? They gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them" (Luke xxiv. 38-43).

(References: Luke 24:38-43; Matthew 17:24-27)


[19] That the Lord glorified His Human even to its ultimate, which is called natural and sensual, He proved by His showing His hands and His feet; by His disciples touching these, and by His saying that a spirit had not flesh and bones as He [had], and also by His eating of the broiled fish and honeycomb. By the hands and feet are signified the ultimates of man; similarly by the flesh and bones. The broiled fish signifies the Natural as to truth from good, and honey the Natural as to good from which is truth. These things were eaten in the presence of the disciples, because they corresponded to the natural man and therefore signified it. For a fish, as shown in this article, signifies, from correspondence, the Natural as to what is scientific; therefore also a fish, in the Word, signifies the scientific, and the cognitive faculty of the natural man, and a broiled fish signifies the scientific which is from natural good; but, with the Lord, it signified the Natural Divine as to truth from good. That honey signifies natural good, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 5620, 6857, 10,137, 10,530). He who is ignorant of the fact that there is a spiritual sense in every part of the Word, and that the sense of the letter, which is the natural sense, consists of correspondences with spiritual things, cannot understand the arcanum why the Lord ate of the broiled fish, and of the honeycomb in the presence of His disciples, and also, why He gave broiled fish and bread to His disciples, although every particular thing that the Lord spoke and did, was Divine, and these are interiorly stored up in every thing written in the Word.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 5620, 6857, 10137, 10530; Luke 24:38-43)


[20] It is now evident from these things that the words, "And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had lives, died," signify that every living scientific in the natural man perished, or, what is the same, that the natural man as to the scientifics therein died; this is said to be dead when it is not vivified from the spiritual man, that is, by influx out of heaven from the Lord through the spiritual man, for the Lord flows through the spiritual man into the natural; therefore when no truth of heaven is any longer acknowledged, nor any good of heaven operates, then the spiritual mind which is called the spiritual man, is closed, and the natural mind receives merely falsities from evil; and falsities from evil are spiritually dead, for truths from good are spiritually living.

[21] It is said, "the third part of the creatures," because creatures and animals in the Word, signify the affections and thence the thoughts in man; consequently, men themselves in regard to these are also meant. Creatures, have a similar meaning in Mark:

Jesus said to His disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (xvi. 15).

And also above in the Apocalypse:

"And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and which are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, unto the ages of the ages" (v. 13).

That by every creature are there meant both angels and men is evident, for it is said that he "heard them saying." See above (n. 342-346), where these things are explained.

(References: Ezekiel 47:1; Mark 16:15; Matthew 4:18-19; Revelation 5:13; The Apocalypse Explained 342-346)

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Apocalypse Explained 508, 514, 518, 817

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Cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic 1

Fish 1

Garlic 1

Kibroth hattaavah, or the graves of lust 1

Leeks 1

Melons 1

Onions 1

Rebuke of Jehovah 1


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 Jesus' Final Words
After the crucifixion Jesus appeared to His disciples, offering reassurance of His continued presence and commissioning them to love and follow Him.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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Commentary

 

Earth      

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by Brita Conroy

"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 of the person's mind, or of the general thought of the group. If heaven and earth are mentioned together, then both the internals and externals of the mind are meant -- something to note when reading the creation story.

"Earth" is a general word that can be thought of as a container for other more specific words, as ground, field, or garden. Each of these means a person in an ascending series as that person learns truths from the Bible, thinks about them, and tries to apply them to life. The series represents the way of becoming good and wise. "Earth" and "ground" are terms that can go either way, as in the parable of the sower (Matt. 13: 4-8 ) there was both good ground and bad ground, but "field" and "garden" mean minds that are regenerating towards good.

In Revelation the word "earth" is used both as a ground level as we use it in its natural sense and also as the sense of a group. The action in this book takes place in the great middle zone of the spiritual world, where people first go and where they are sorted out. There are both evil people and good there, and sometimes at the end of a church the evil can have great influence before a great judgment comes. This level of the spiritual realm is called the "earth" to which the dragon was cast down (Rev. 12:9) and to which the stars fell (12:4). The "earth" that swallowed the dragon’s flood means those still-sincere people within the church who discounted the flood of the dragon's falsities (Rev. 12:15).

(References: Apocalypse Revealed 552; Arcana Coelestia 17, 89, 2162 [8]; Matthew 13:4-8; Revelation 12:4, 12:9, 12:15)


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