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 #526

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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526. And the third part of them was darkened.- That this signifies that all those things were changed into falsities of evil, and into the evils of falsity, is evident from the signification of darkness which denotes falsities, and hence of being darkened which denotes to be changed into falsities. The reason why it denotes to be changed into the falsities of evil and the evils of falsity is, that it is said the third part of the sun was darkened, the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; and the sun signifies the good of love, the moon, the good and truth of faith, and the stars, the cognitions of good and truth. Therefore the third part of the sun being darkened, signifies that the good of love was changed into evil, and the falsity thence, which is the falsity of evil. For good is changed into evil, and thence falsity, but the truth of faith, signified by the moon, is changed into falsity, and thence evil, which is the evil of falsity. The evil of falsity is the falsity of doctrine, from which proceeds evil of life, and the falsity of evil is evil of life, from which proceeds falsity of doctrine.

[2] The reason why darkness signifies falsity, is, that light signifies truth, and falsity is the opposite of truth, as darkness is of light. Moreover, when a man does not possess the light of life, which is the Divine Truth, the shadow of death is then in him, which is falsity. For man, from his proprium, is in every evil, and the falsity therefrom, and he can be removed from them only by means of the truths of the church; where therefore there are no truths, there the falsities of evil are. That truths are the only means by which man can be removed from evils, purified and reformed, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 24).

[3] That darkness in the Word, signifies falsities of various kinds, is evident from the following passages.

In Joel:

"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come" (2:31).

By the sun being turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, is signified the same as by the third part of the sun and the third part of the moon being darkened, namely, that at the end of the church the falsity of evil will be in the place of the good of love, and the evil of falsity in the place of the truth of faith. Similar things are signified elsewhere also in the Word, where mention is made of the darkening of the sun and moon.

[4] Thus in Isaiah:

"For the stars of the heavens, and the constellations thereof, shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his rising, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine" (13:10; 24:21, 23).

In Ezekiel:

"When I shall extinguish thee, I will cover the heavens; and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine. All the luminaries of light in the heavens will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land" (32:7, 8).

Again, in Joel:

"The day of Jehovah is near in the valley cut off. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining" (3:14, 15).

In the same:

"The day of Jehovah cometh, a day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of cloud, and obscurity, the earth quaketh before him, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining" (2:1, 2, 10).

And in the Evangelists:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven" (Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24, 25).

These things are said concerning the last time of the church, when there are no longer any spiritual good and truth, or good and truth of heaven and the church, but only evil and falsity. That the goods and truths of the church, which are called the goods of love and the truths of faith, are changed into evils and falsities, is signified by the sun and moon being obscured and darkened, and the stars not giving their light. The last judgment, which then follows, is signified by the day of Jehovah great and terrible; and because this takes place when the church is in darkness and thick darkness, therefore it is also called a day of darkness, and of thick darkness, and also a day of cloud and obscurity, as also in the following passages.

(References: Ezekiel 32:7-8; Joel 2:1-2, 3:14-15; Mark 13:24-25)


[5] In Amos:

"Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! what to you is the day of Jehovah? It is a day of darkness and not light. Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? even thick darkness, and no brightness in it?" (5:18, 20).

And in Zephaniah:

"The day of Jehovah, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of clouds and gloominess" (1:14, 15).

And in Isaiah:

"In that day he shall look into the land, which behold is darkness and sorrow, and the light becomes darkened in the ruins thereof" (5:30).

And again:

"He shall look unto the earth; and, behold, distress and thick darkness, the gloom of straitness; and driven with thick darkness" (8:22).

And again:

"Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the people" (60:2).

So in Jeremiah:

"Give glory to Jehovah your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the mountains of twilight, then shall we look for light, but he will turn it into the shadow of death, and make it thick darkness" (13:16).

These passages also relate to the last time of the church, when the Lord shall come into the world, and judgment be accomplished; because at that time there is no longer any good of love, or truth of faith, but evil of falsity, and the falsity of evil, that day is therefore called a day of darkness and of thick darkness.

(References: Amos 5:18; Zephaniah 1:14-15)


[6] The same is signified by the darkness over all the land from the sixth hour to the ninth, when the Lord was crucified (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44-49). By the darkness over all the land was represented, that in the entire church there was nothing but evil and the falsity thence and the falsity and the evil thence. The three hours also signify what is full and absolute; for all the details related in the Evangelists concerning the passion of the Lord, contain in them interior things of heaven, and signify celestial Divine things, and these can be made evident only by means of the internal spiritual sense.

[7] That falsity is signified by darkness, is still further evident from the following passages.

Thus in Isaiah:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness" (5:20).

To put darkness for light, and light for darkness, signifies to call falsity truth, and truth falsity; that darkness denotes falsity and light truth, is clear, for good and evil are first mentioned, afterwards therefore, truth and falsity.

[8] So in John:

"And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, for their works were evil" (3:19).

The Lord here calls Himself the light because He was the Divine Truth itself when in the world; therefore light signifies the Lord as to Divine Truth, and also Divine Truth from the Lord; and because darkness is opposed to light, therefore the darkness which men loved rather than the light, signifies the infernal falsity, which is the falsity of evil. That the falsity of evil is here meant by darkness, is evident from the words, for their works were evil. The falsity of evil exists from evil works or evils of the life; for as good conjoins to itself truth, so evil conjoins to itself falsity, the one is from the other.

[9] Similar things are signified by light and by darkness in the following passages in John:

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" (1:4, 5).

Again:

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (8:12).

And again:

Jesus said, "Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in darkness" (12:35, 46).

In these passages darkness signifies infernal falsity. For light of which darkness is the opposite, signifies Divine truth. Light signifies Divine Truth, because light in the heavens in its essence, is the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord; see in the Heaven and Hell 126-140). Since the Divine Truth is the light in the heavens, it follows that the falsity of evil, which is the falsity in the hells, is darkness; it does not indeed appear as darkness to those who are in the hells, for they do see one another, but the light (lumen) by which they see is like that from ignited charcoal, and such light, when the light of heaven flows into it, becomes complete darkness. For this reason the caverns and dens in which [the infernals] are, appear, to those who are in the heavens, like gloomy caves.

(References: Heaven and Hell 116-140; John 1:4-5, 8:12)


[10] From these considerations it is evident why darkness signifies the falsities of evil, and why the Lord said that those who are cast into hell should be cast into outer darkness (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

So in David:

"The enemy persecuteth my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to sit in darkness, as the dead of the world" (Psalm 143:3).

Here, by the enemy who persecuteth his soul, is signified, in the spiritual sense, evil; therefore his being made to sit in darkness, signifies to be in falsities.

[11] So in Isaiah:

"Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us; we look for light, but, behold darkness; for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness" (59:9).

By judgment is far from us, is signified that there is no understanding of truth; neither doth justice overtake us, signifies that there is no good of life; we look for light, but, behold, darkness, signifies expectation of truth, but behold falsity; and for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness, signifies the expectation of goods by truths, but behold the life of falsity from evils. For brightness signifies the goods of truth, because light signifies truth, and truth is resplendent from good; thick darkness signifies the falsities of evil, and to walk signifies to live.

[12] So in Luke:

"But this is your hour, and the power of darkness" (22:53).

This the Lord said to the chief priests, the rulers of the temple, and the elders who took Him by means of Judas. The power to do this wickedness the Lord calls the power of darkness, because they were in the falsities of evil, in falsities concerning the Lord, and in evils against Him; by darkness is here also meant hell, because such falsities of evil are there.

[13] So again:

The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye is clear, thy whole body also shall be full of light; but if thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp doth give thee light" (11:34, 35, 36; Matthew 6:22, 23).

The eye here signifies the understanding, and the pure or single eye, the understanding of truth from good; but the evil eye signifies the understanding of falsity from evil; the body which is said to be either full of light or darkness, signifies the whole man. It may then be concluded that the signification of these words in their series, is, that the whole man is of such a nature as the quality of his understanding from the will. For every man is his own good and his own truth, because he is his own love or his own affection, therefore his nature is entirely such as that of his understanding from the will. For all truth is of the understanding, and all good of the will; the body being only obedience, because it is the effect from an efficient cause, and the efficient cause is the understanding from the will; the quality therefore of the one is according to the quality of the other, since every effect derives all that it has from the efficient cause. That care must be taken, lest truth once perceived in the understanding and received into the will, be turned into falsity, which is done from evil, is meant by, "Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness," for falsities consequently become worse; therefore it is said in Matthew in the passage already quoted, "If, therefore, the light which is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness."

(References: Luke 11:34-36; Matthew 6:22-23)


[14] Darkness also signifies the falsities of evil in the prophet Isaiah:

"Sit thou silent, and enter into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for they shall call thee no more the mistress of kingdoms" (47:5).

Here, the daughter of the Chaldeans signifies the falsification of truth, and hence darkness signifies the falsities of evil, since evil falsifies truth. The falsity of evil was also signified by the thick darkness, which was over all the land of Egypt, during three days, while the children of Israel had light in their dwellings (Exodus 10:21, 22, 23); also by the darkness in Genesis 15:12, 17, and in many other passages.

(References: Exodus 10:21-23)


[15] It has been shown so far, that darkness, in the Word, signifies the falsities of evil; that darkness also signifies falsities not of evil, such as were the falsities of religion with the upright Gentiles, originating in ignorance of the truth [shall now be shown]. That these falsities are also called darkness, is clear from the following passages:

In Isaiah:

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" (9:2).

And in Matthew:

"The people which sat in darkness saw great light; to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up" (4:16).

And in Luke:

The dayspring from on high hath appeared "to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death" (1:78, 79).

Again, in Isaiah:

"And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul then shall thy light rise in darkness, and thy thick darkness be as the noon day (58:10).

Again:

"He shall say to the bound, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves" (49:9).

Again, in the same prophet:

"And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of thick darkness and out of darkness" (29:18).

And again:

"And I will bring the blind by a way that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight (42:16).

And in Micah:

"When I sit in darkness, Jehovah shall be a light unto me" (7:8).

In these passages, darkness signifies the falsities of ignorance, such as formerly existed, and at this day exist, with the upright Gentiles. These falsities are altogether distinct from the falsities of evil, for the latter contain in themselves evil, because they are from evil, while the former contain in themselves good, for they have good for an end. Those therefore who are in those falsities can be instructed in truths, and also when instructed they receive truths in the heart, because the good, which is in their falsities, loves the truth, and also conjoins itself with the truth when it is heard. The case is different with the falsities of evil; these are averse to, and reject all truth, because it is truth, and does not therefore agree with evil.

(References: Luke 1:78-79)


[16] In the Word, darkness also signifies mere ignorance arising from the deprivation of truth; as in David (Psalm 18:29; Psalm 139:11, 12). Darkness also signifies natural light (lumen naturale), for this, in comparison with spiritual light, is like darkness; wherefore also the angels, when they look down into the natural light of man, such as is in the natural cognition of men, regard it as darkness, and the things which are in it, as in darkness; this light (lumen), is signified by the darkness mentioned in Genesis (Micah 1:2-5). And because the sense of the letter of the Word is natural, therefore this also in the Word is called a cloud, and also darkness, in comparison with the internal sense, which is the light of heaven, and is called glory.

(References: Genesis 1:2-5; Psalms 18:28, 139:11-12)

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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.
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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 5:30

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30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.

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Explanation of Isaiah 5      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 5

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

PARABLES: THE WASTED VINEYARD

1. I WILL now sing to my Beloved, a song of my Beloved concerning His vineyard. My Beloved had a vineyard on a high and fruitful hill:

VERSES 1, 2. By "the vineyard which belonged to the Beloved in the horn of a son of oil", is signified the spiritual church, which is principled in truths originating in the good of love, thus which is most excellent, for a "vineyard" signifies the spiritual church, or the church which is principled in truths from good; the inauguration thereof is understood by the "horn of oil", forasmuch as inaugurations were performed by oil out of a horn; and a "son of oil" denotes truth derived from good.

By the "Beloved" is signified the Lord, because the churches are established by Him; wherefore it is said that "He fenced it, and gathered out the stones, and planted a noble vine"; the "noble vine" denoting spiritual truth from a celestial origin, or truth derived from the good of love; by the "grapes" which He expected that it should bring forth, are signified the goods of charity, which are goods of life; and by the "wild grapes" which it brought forth, are signified the evils which are opposed to the goods of charity, or evils of life. Apocalypse Explained 375.

In these words there still lies concealed such an arcanum as cannot be expressed by any forms of speech; for by these words is fully described the conjunction of the Lord's spiritual kingdom with His celestial kingdom, that is, the conjunction of the second heaven with the third, consequently the conjunction of the good of faith in the Lord, which is of the spiritual kingdom, with the good of love to the Lord, which is of the celestial kingdom.

A "vineyard" denotes the spiritual kingdom; "in a horn" denotes in power; thus "a son 'of oil" therein, denotes the external good of love in the celestial kingdom; for this kingdom, which is the inmost heaven of the Lord, is called "oil or olive-yard", because "oil" denotes the good of celestial love. Arcana Coelestia 9139.

2. And He fenced it round, and He cleared it of stones, and He planted it with a noble vine; and He built a tower in the midst of it, and He hewed out also a wine-press therein: and He expected that it should bring forth grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes.

Verses 2, 4. He built a tower in the midst of it, and He hewed out also a wine-press therein: and He expected that it should bring forth grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes, etc. "He built a tower in the midst of it", signifies the interior things .which receive influx, and by which there is a communication with heaven; He also "hewed out a wine-press in it", signifies the production of truth from good; and "He expected it to bring forth grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes", signifies the hope of the fructification of those things by virtue of the good of charity, but in vain, because there was iniquity in the place of good. Apocalypse Explained 918.

That "grapes" signify the good of the spiritual man, thus charity, may appear manifest from several passages in the Word, as in Isaiah, - "My Beloved had a vineyard in the horn of a son of oil; He expected that it "would bring forth grapes, but it produced wild grapes"; (Isaiah 5:1, 2, 4) where "vineyard" denotes the spiritual church; "He expected it to bring forth grapes", denotes the goods of charity; but "it produced wild grapes", denotes the evils of hatred and revenge. Apocalypse Explained 5117.

3. And now, O inhabitant of Jerusalem, and O man of Judah, judge, I pray you, between Me and My vineyard.

4. What could have been done more to My vineyard, than I have done unto it? why, then, when I expected that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

Verses 3-6. By "vineyard." is here understood the church with that nation; by "I expected that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes", is signified that there appertained to it evils of the false instead of the goods of truth, which are of the church; by "removing the hedge thereof, and its being eaten up, and by breaking through the wall, and its being trodden down", is signified the destruction thereof as to goods and truths, and invasion by evils and falsities, which are signified by the "thorns and briers" which should come up; by "I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it", is signified that there is no longer with them any reception of truth and good, through the Word, out of heaven. Apocalypse Explained 433.

In this passage, in the sense of the letter, the perverse state of the Israelites and Jews is treated of; but in the internal sense the perverse state of the [Christian] church is treated of, as represented by "Israel and Judah"; the "inhabitant of Jerusalem" is the good of the church; "inhabitant" denotes good, or, what is the same thing, those who are principled in good; and "Jerusalem", the church. In like manner, "the house of Israel" is significative; that "house" denotes good, and "Israel" the church; in like manner the "man of Judah", for by "man" is signified truth, and by "Judah" good, but with this difference, that the "man of Judah" denotes truth grounded in the good of love to the Lord, which is called celestial truth, that is, it signifies those who are principled in such truth. Arcana Coelestia 3654.

5. But now, I will indeed make known unto you what I will do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will destroy its wall, and it shall be trodden down:

Verse 5. By the "vineyard" is there signified the church of the Lord, which is called the spiritual church; by "removing the hedge", and "breaking through the wall", is signified to falsify and thus to destroy the truths that defend the church; the "wall" and the "hedge" about the vineyard denote the same as the wall and bulwarks of Jerusalem; by "devouring and treading under foot the vineyard" is signified to vastate the church, so that no good and truth can spring up therein, and thus to destroy it. Apocalypse Explained 632.

6. And I will make it a desolation: it shall not be pruned, neither shall it be weeded; but the brier and the thorn shall spring up in it : and I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

Verse 6. By these words is understood that there shall not be any understanding of divine Truth or the Word in the church; "vineyard" denotes the church, the "clouds", the Word in the letter, and by their "raining no rain" is signified no understanding of divine Truth, Apocalypse Explained 594.

Here likewise it is said of Jehovah, that "He makes the vineyard a desolation, and commands the clouds that they rain no rain upon it"; when notwithstanding this is not done by Jehovah, that is, by the Lord, for He always flows in as well with the evil as with the good, which is understood by His "sending His rain upon the just and upon the unjust." (Matthew 5:45)

But the cause hereof is in the man of the church, in that he does not receive any influx of divine Truth; for when this is the case with man, he shuts up the interiors of his mind which should receive, and these being shut up, the divine influx is rejected. By the "vineyard, which is made a desolation", is signified the church; by "not being pruned nor weeded", is signified that it cannot be cultivated, and so prepared to receive; by the "brier and thorn which shall come up", are signified the falsities of evil; by "commanding the clouds that they rain no rain", is signified the non-reception of any influx of divine Truth out of heaven. Apocalypse Explained 644.

The state of desolation and vastation with those who are not regenerated, is also treated of in the Word throughout; in this state are they who altogether deny truths, or turn truths into falsities; this is the state of the church towards the end, when there is no longer either faith or charity, as is described in Isaiah 5:5-7.Arcana Coelestia 5376.

7. For the vineyard of Jehovah of Hosts is the house of Israel, and the man of Judah the plant of His delights: and He looked for judgment, but behold bloodshed! and for justice, but behold an outcry!

Verse 7. And He looked for judgment, but behold bloodshed! and for justice, but behold an outcry! - Speaking also of the vastation of Goodness and Truth. In this passage there occurs a species of reciprocation, as is common with the Prophets, which is such that evil is found in the place of Truth, signified by "bloodshed, or a scab, instead of judgment", and the false principle in the place of Good, signified by "an outcry, instead of justice"; for "judgment" is Truth, and "justice" is Good. That an" outcry" [clamor] signifies, in a bad sense, the false principle, cannot appear unless from the internal sense of the Word. The expression" outcry" sometimes occurs in the Prophets, when treating of vastation and desolation, on which occasion they speak of "howling" and "crying", signifying thereby that what is Good and True is vastated, and in such case by "howling and crying", in the internal sense, is described the false principle, as in Jeremiah, "A voice of the outcry of shepherds, and a howling of the powerful of the flock, because Jehovah lays waste their pasture;"(Jeremiah 25:36) where an "outcry of shepherds" denotes that they were principled in what is false, whence comes desolation. See also in the same Prophet, 47:2, 4; and in Zephaniah, 1:10, 14; and. other passages which might be adduced. Arcana Coelestia 2240.

An intense supplication is expressed in the Word by an "outcry", and this because the supplication, although tacit, of those who supplicate from the heart, is heard as an outcry in heaven. This occurs when men only think, and more if they deeply sigh from a sincere heart. This was represented by an "outcry" [or clamour] in the representative church; and hence it became a ritual among the Jews. It occurs in like manner with those who teach; they are heard in heaven as though they were crying out. Not only the thoughts but, especially the affections, which are of Goodness and Truth, speak in heaven; that they speak, and if ardent, cry out, has been granted me to know from experience, concerning which, of the Lord's Divine Mercy, I shall speak elsewhere. But the affections of what is evil and false are by no means heard in heaven, although a man who makes supplication from such affections, were to cry aloud, at the same tlme pressing his hands closely together [as in prayer], and praising, up his eyes to heaven; such affections are heard in hell and also as an outcry, if they are ardent. Arcana Coelestia 9202.

To "wait [or look] for judgment", is to wait for intelligence from divine Truth, and a life according to the precepts. Arcana Coelestia 9857.

8. Woe unto you who join house to house, who lay field unto field, until there be no place, and you dwell alone in the midst of the land!

9. To Mine ears [says] Jehovah of Hosts: Surely, [these] many houses shall become a desolation; the great and the good ones, without an inhabitant,

Verses 8, 9. In this passage it signifies the man in whom is evil. The house of man's mind is built up of scientifics, knowledges, and truths united with good. For to collect scientifics, and thereby to raise and to build up the external man; is, in its circumstances, not unlike the building of a house; wherefore the like is signified throughout the Word by "building", and by "erecting houses", as in Isaiah 65:21, 22. "House", in this passage, signifies where there is wisdom and intelligence, consequently where there are the knowledges of Good and of Truth. But in Isaiah 5:8, 9, "house" is used in the opposite sense, and denotes scientifics, by which come falsities. Arcana Coelestia 1488.

"House" signifies various things, as the church, good therein, also a man, and likewise his mind both natural and rational. Arcana Coelestia 9150.

Good pertaining to man is, in the Word, compared to a "house", and on this account 'a man who is principled in good is called the "house of God", but internal good is called the "father's house", whereas good which is in the same, degree is called the "house of brethren", but external good, which is the same as natural good, is called the "mother's house"; all good and truth also is thus born namely, -by an influx of internal good as a father into external good as a mother. Arcana Coelestia 3128.

10. For ten acres of vineyard shall yield [scarcely] one bath [of wine], and a homer of seed shall yield [scarcely] one ephah [of corn].

Verses 9, 10. By "ten" is signified all and much, as in the following passage in Isaiah:

"Many houses shall be a devastation, great and fair, without inhabitant; for ten acres of vineyard shall yield [scarcely] one bath"; treating of the desolation of truth with those who are of the church.

By "many houses which shall be a devastation", are signified the men of the church, specially as to truths from good.

By "great and fair", namely, houses, is signified the affection of good and intelligence of truth; for "great is predicated of good and the affection thereof, and "fair" is predicated of truth and the intelligence thereof; but here in the opposite sense.

By "ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath", is signified that in all things appertaining to the church with man, there is scarcely any truth from good; for by the "bath" is signified the same us by "wine", namely, truth derived from good; wherefore, by "ten acres of vineyard", are signified all things of the church with man. Apocalypse Explained 675.

That the number "ten", and also" tenths", signify remains, may appear from the following passage in Isaiah, Isaiah 5:9, 10; speaking of the vastation of things spiritual and celestial.

"Ten acres of vineyard making one bath", signifies that the remains of things spiritual were so few; and "a homer of seed yielding [scarcely] one ephah [of corn]", signifies that there were so few remains of things celestial. Arcana Coelestia 576.

"Ten acres" denote what is full, and also much; in like manner, a "homer"; but a "bath" and an "ephah" signify few', for when ten denote much, a tenth part means a few. Arcana Coelestia 8468.

11. Woe unto them who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink; who continue late in the evening, that wine may inflame them!

Verses 11, 12, 21, 22. These things are said of those who make to themselves doctrinals from self-derived intelligence, and not from the Lord or from the Word, which is from Him, whence they are in mere falsities; wherefore the perverted state of such persons who believe themselves to be enlightened, in consequence whereof they are in falsities of doctrine, and care not for the Word, from which alone the goods and truths of doctrine and of life can be known, is here described; to "rise early, or at the dawn of morning, and continue to evening", signifies their state of illustration; to "run after strong drink", and to be "inflamed with wine", signifies the fabrication of doctrinals from themselves:

"not to regard the work of Jehovah, nor see the operation of His hands", signifies not to attend to the Word and the goods of life and truths of doctrine there discovered; the "work of Jehovah" being predicated of the goods of life, and the "operation of His hands" of the truths of doctrine, each -from the Word; inasmuch as such persons are understood, therefore it is said, "Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes, and intelligent before their own faces"; and to be "wise in their own eyes", signifies from self-derived intelligence, and to be "intelligent before their own faces", signifies from self-derived affection; the "eyes" signifying understanding, and the "faces" affection; "woe to them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink", signifies to, such as aspire after great things, and are ingenious in confirming the falsities which favour the loves of self and their own principles; the "mighty" denoting those who aspire to great things, and "men of strength" those who are ingenious and seem to themselves to be intelligent; "to drink wine" [in a bad sense], is to imbibe falsities, and "to mingle strong drink", is to confirm them; such are all they who are in the love of self, and who seek after the fame of erudition, for such are in their proprium, and cannot be elevated therefrom, wherefore their thought is in the sensual corporeal principle, wherein no truth can, appear, nor spiritual good be perceived; whereas they who are not in the love of self, and seek intelligence for the use of life, are elevated by the Lord from the proprium into the light of heaven, whilst they are ignorant of it, and are thereby enlightened. Apocalypse Explained 376 Apocalypse Explained 376[1-40].

12. And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and the pipe, and wine, are their feasts: but the work of Jehovah they regard not; and the operation of His hands they do not behold.

Verse 12. The "harp", the "viol", the "tabret", the "pipe", and also" wine", are to be here understood in the opposite sense, in which they signify exultations and boastings from the falsities of evil; that such things are here signified, is evident from its being said, "Woe unto them, they regard not the works of Jehovah, nor behold the operation of His hands." A.. Apocalypse Explained 323.

Inasmuch as "wine" signifies the good of love and of faith, therefore in the supreme sense it signifies the Divine Truth from the Divine Good of the Lord, for from this, by influx, man, who receives, has the good of love and of faith. Whereas several expressions in the Word have also a contrary sense, so also has "'wine", in which sense it signifies the false principle derived from evil [as in this passage]. Arcana Coelestia 6877.

13. Wherefore My people goes into captivity for want of knowledge; and their glory are men [dying] of hunger, and their multitude are dried up with thirst.

14. Therefore hell has enlarged itself, and has stretched open its mouth without measure: her glory, and her multitude, and her throng, and all who exult in her, shall descend into it.

Verse 13. The desolation or destruction of the church for want of the knowledges of good and truth, is signified by "My, people goes into captivity for want of knowledge"; the Divine Truth which constitutes the church, is signified by "glory"; and that this is not in the church, and consequently neither is good, is signified by the "glory thereof being men [dying] of famine"; "men of famine" denoting those who are in no perception of good, and in no knowledges of truth; and that hence they have no truth, is signified by "the multitude thereof being dry with thirst"; "to be dry with thirst" denoting the defect of truth, and "multitude", in the Word, being predicated of truths. Apocalypse Explained 386.

"Thirst" denotes a defect of truth, and hence a privation of spiritual life. Apocalypse Explained 8568.

"Men of famine", signify a scarcity of celestial knowledges; "a multitude dried up with thirst", signifies a scarcity of spiritual knowledges. Arcana Coelestia 1460.

15. And the [mean] man shall be bowed down, and the [great] man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the haughty shall be cast down:

16. And Jehovah of Hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God the Holy [One] shall be sanctified in justice.

17. Then shall the lambs feed as on their pastures, and the deserted places of the fat ones shall the [flocks of] strangers consume.

Verse 16. Jehovah shall be exalted in judgment, etc. - Inasmuch as the Lord is Divine Good and Divine Truth, and since by "judgment" is signified Divine Truth, and by "justice" or righteousness Divine Good; therefore, in many places where the Lord is spoken of, "justice and judgment" are mentioned, and in other places that men ought to do "justice and judgment." Apocalypse Revealed 668.

18. Woe unto them who draw iniquity with cords of vanity; and sin, as with the thick traces of a waggon:

19. Who say, Let Him make speed, and let Him hasten His work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and come to pass, that we may know it !

20. Woe unto them who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Verse 18. "Vanity" denotes falsity, and indeed the falsity of doctrine and religion. Arcana Coelestia 2248.

"Cords "of variously twisted appearance and thickness are seen in the other life, and by them are represented various modes of conjunction; hence it is that in the Word "cords" and "ropes" signify, conjoining mediums, thus "cords of vanity" denote conjunctions of falsities, which are productive of iniquity or evil of life. Many passages might be adduced in proof of this, of which the following may suffice, as in Hosea, -

"I have drawn them with the cords of a man, with the thick cords of love"; (Hosea 11:4)

Here "cords" evidently signify conjoining mediums, for "love" is spiritual conjunction,

Again, in Jeremiah,

"My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken"; (Jeremiah 10:20)

Here, too, "cords" are used to signify conjoining find confirming mediums; the "tabernacle" is the church; which is the Lord's heaven upon earth. Arcana Coelestia 9854.

Verse 19. By the "Holy One of Israel" is meant the Lord as to His divine Human and indeed as to the divine Natural; by Israel and Jacob, in the supreme sense, is meant the Lord as to the divine Natural, by "Israel", as to the internal divine Natural, and by "Jacob", as to the external divine Natural. Arcana Coelestia 7091.

Verse 20. To "put darkness for light, and light for darkness, signifies to call the false truth and truth the false; that "darkness" denotes the false and "light" the truth, is evident, for good and evil are first mentioned; therefore, afterwards, mention is made of truth and the false. Apocalypse Explained 526.

Verses 20, 22. That good and truth adulterated is here signified by "bitter", is evident, for it is said, "Woe unto them, that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, by which is, signified the adulteration of good and the falsification of truth; for good is adulterated when good is called evil and evil good, and truth is falsified when darkness is put for light and light for darkness, "darkness" denoting falsities, and "light" denotIng truths; hence it is evident that similar things are signified by "putting sweet for bitter, and bitter for sweet"; also by its being said, "woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink; by "mighty to drink wine", are signified those who adulterate the truths of the Word, and by "men of strength to mingle strong drink", are signified those who falsify it; "wine and strong drink" denoting the truths of the Word, and "heroes, or the mighty, and men of strength", those who excel in ingenuity and subtlety In adulterating them. Apocalypse Explained 618.

21. Woe unto them who are wise in their own eyes, and intelligent before their own faces!

Verse 21. That the proprium is nothing but mere evil and the false, was made evident to me from this circumstance, that whatever any spirits spoke at any time from themselves was evil and false, insomuch that whenever it was only given me to know that they did speak from themselves, I knew instantly that what they said was false, notwithstanding the power of persuasion in themselves that what they said was true beyond all possible doubt. The case is the same with men also who speak from themselves. In like manner, whenever any have begun to reason concerning the things which respect spiritual and celestial life, or which relate to faith, it was given me to perceive that they were in a state of doubt, yea, of denial touching such things; for to reason about faith is to doubt and deny it. And whereas this proceeds from themselves, or from the proprium, they are mere falsities into which they fall, consequently into an abyss of darknesses, that is, of falsities; and when they are in this abyss, the least scruple prevails over a thousand truths, which scruple is like a small particle of dust falling on the pupil of the eye, and blindlng it in such a manner that it cannot see the universe, or anything contained therein. Concerning such persons the Lord thus speaks in Isaiah, - "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight [or faces]." (Isaiah 5:21) Arcana Coelestia 215. .

22. Woe unto them who are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:

23. Who justify the guilty for a reward, and take away the justice of the just from him!

Verse 22. They who believe nothing but what they comprehend by things sensual and scientific, were also called mighty to drink, as in Isaiah, "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and intelligent in their own sight, Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink." They are called "wise in their own eyes, and intelligent in their own sight", because they who reason against the truths of faith think themselves wiser than others. Arcana Coelestia 1072 Arcana Coelestia 1072[1-6].

24. Therefore as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and, as the flame consumes the chaff, so shall their root become like rottenness, and their blossom shall go up like the dust: because they have rejected the law of Jehovah of Hosts, and despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel.

Verse 24. That hereby are signified the scientifics of truth, appears from the signification of "blossoms and flowers" as denoting the scientifics of truth: the reason why "blossoms" have this signification is, because they are germinations which precede, and in their manner produce fruits and seeds; for it is known that trees and plants bear blossoms before they bear fruit; the case is the same with man, as to intelligence and wisdom : the scientifics of truth precede, and in their manner produce those things which are of wisdom with man; for they serve his rational principle for objects, and thus for means of growing wise; hence it is that the scientifics of truth are as "blossoms", and the good of life, which is the good of wisdom, as "fruit." Inasmuch as all things which are in the spiritual world have reference to such things as appertain to man, by reason that heaven resembles one man, and corresponds to all the things, even the. most minute, appertaining to man, therefore also all things which are in the natural world, according to their agreement with such things as appertain to man, correspond, represent, and signify. Hence now it may be manifest from what ground it is that "blossoms" signify the scientifics of truth, and in general, truths, and that "fruit", and likewise "seeds", signify goods. That "blossoms" denote the scientifics of truth, and in general, truths, is manifest from the following passage :

"Their root shall be as corruption, and their blossoms as dust, because they have refused the law of Jehovah of Hosts, and have despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel." Arcana Coelestia 9553

25. Wherefore the anger of Jehovah is kindled against His people, and He has stretched out His hand against them, and has smitten them: and the mountains tremble, and their carcases are as the dung in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned back, but His hand is stretched out still.

Verse 25. Inasmuch as "a street" signifies the truth of doctrine leading and, in the opposite sense, the false, therefore by "the mud, the mire and the dung of the streets", is signified the false originating in the love of evil; these things are also said from appearances in the spiritual world, for in the cities in that world where falsities from evil reign, the streets appear full of dung, mire, and mud. Apocalypse Explained 652.

The reason why the "stretching out the hand" denotes the dominion of power, is, because the hand or arm has power when it is stretched out; therefore, when it is said of Jehovah, that "He stretched out the hand or arm", it signifies unlimited or infinite power in act. In very many passages also omnipotence is described by "Jehovah stretching out the hand", also by "His stretched out hand", and by "His stretched out arm"; as in Isaiah, - "The anger of Jehovah is kindled against His people, and He has stretched out His hand over them, and has smote them, and the mountains trembled." Arcana Coelestia 7673.

26. And He will erect a standard for the nations afar off, and He will hiss unto them from the end of the earth; and, behold, with speed shall they come swiftly:

27. None among them is faint, and none stumbles: none shall slumber or sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed; nor shall the latchet of their shoes be unbound:

Verses 26. That by a "standard", or sign, is signified a calling together to war, is manifest from this consideration, that when convocations were made, whether for journeyings, or for festivals, or for war, they "sounded the trumpet", and also "lifted up a sign or standard" upon the mountains. Arcana Coelestia 8624.

The subject here treated of is concerning those who are in ultimates or lowest things as to the understanding of truth, and as to perception of good; those ultimates are called things sensual, which are the ultimates of the natural man; from these, when separated from the spiritual man, stream forth all the evils and falsities which are in the church and in its doctrines. The evils thence derived are signified by the "nations which shall come from afar", and the falsities by "him who cometh from the end of the earth"; "afar off" and the "end of the earth" signifying those things which are remote from the goods and truths of the church; by the "arrows which are sharp", and by the "bows which are bent", are signified falsities of doctrine prepared to destroy truths; and by the "hoofs of the horses which are accounted as the rock", and by "his wheels which are as the whirlwind", are signified the ultimates of truth, such as are the things in the sense of the letter of the Word, and arguments and confirmations of the false thereby; the "hoofs of horses" denote the ultimates or lowest [principles] of the understanding, in this case of the understanding perverted, because separated from the understanding of the spiritual man; which ultimates being nevertheless from the sense of the letter of the Word, it is said "they are accounted as the rock"; and the "wheels" denote argumentations and confirmations thereby, which, because they appear strong, it is said are" as a whirlwind."Apocalypse Explained 355.

[As to the signification of "horses", see below, Chapter 31:1, 3, the Exposition.]

28. Whose arrows are sharpened, and all their bows are bent; the hoofs of their horses shall be accounted as a rock, and their wheels as a whirlwind:

Verse 28. The reason why hardness is expressed by a "rock", is also from the correspondence of a "rock" with truth from good, for to truth from good appertains all power, but when truth acts against the false from evil, then good is blunted, and the remaining truth acts hardly; truth without good is also hard, but still brittle. Apocalypse Explained 411.

"Arrows" [in a good sense] denote spiritual truths, "bow" doctrine, "horses' hoofs" natural truths, "wheels" the doctrine thereof; which things, having such a signification, are therefore sometimes attributed to Jehovah, to whom they can only be ascribed in a spiritual sense, otherwise they would be empty and improper expressions. Arcana Coelestia 2680.

But in this passage the destroyer of truth is meant, where" arrows" denote falsities, and "bows" the doctrine of the false; the "hoofs of the horses" signify sensual scientifics derived from a perverse intellectual principle; "wheels", the powers of perverting and destroying truths, as "a storm or whirlwind." Arcana Coelestia 8215.

29. Their roaring is like the roaring of a lion; like young lions shall they roar: they shall roar, and shall seize the prey; and they shall bear it away, and none shall deliver.

Verses 29, 30. Here also the "roaring as of a lion, and as of young lions", signifies grief and lamentation over the vastation of divine Truth in the church by the falsities of evil; by "seizing the prey, and none taking it from him", is signified the liberation and salvation of those who are in truths from good. The vastation itself is described by "Lo! darkness, anxiety [or distress], and the light being darkened in the ruins thereof"; "darkness" denotes falsities, "anxiety" denotes evil, the "darkening of the light", the evanescence of divine Truth, and "ruins" signify total subversion. Apocalypse Explained 601.

"Seizing", "rapine", "spoil", and "prey." are predicated of the Lord in the Word, from the circumstance of snatching away and delivering the good. Arcana Coelestia 644:1.

30. In that day shall they roar against them "like the roaring of the sea; and if one look into the land, lo ! darkness, distress, and the light is darkened in the ruins thereof.

Verse 30. This passage relates to the last time of the church, when the Lord shall come in to the world, and judgment be accomplished: inasmuch as at that time there is no longer any good of love or truth of faith, but evil of the false, and the false of evil, it is called a "day of darkness, and of thick darkness." Apocalypse Explained 526.

---
Isaiah Chapter 5

1. I will now sing to my Beloved, a song of my Beloved concerning His vineyard. My Beloved had a vineyard on a high and fruitful hill:

2. And He fenced it round, and He cleared it of stones, and He planted it with a noble vine; and He built a tower in the midst of it, and He hewed out also a wine-press therein: and He expected that it should bring forth grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes.

3. And now, O inhabitant of Jerusalem, and O man of Judah, judge, I pray you, between Me and My vineyard.

4. What could have been done more to My vineyard, than I have done unto it? why, then, when I expected that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

5. But now, I will indeed make known unto you what I will do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will destroy its wall, and it shall be trodden down:

6. And I will make it a desolation: it shall not be pruned, neither shall it be weeded; but the brier and the thorn shall spring up in it : and I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

7. For the vineyard of Jehovah of Hosts is the house of Israel, and the man of Judah the plant of His delights: and He looked for judgment, but behold bloodshed! and for justice, but behold an outcry!

8. Woe unto you who join house to house, who lay field unto field, until there be no place, and you dwell alone in the midst of the land!

9. To Mine ears [says] Jehovah of Hosts: Surely, [these] many houses shall become a desolation; the great and the good ones, without an inhabitant,

10. For ten acres of vineyard shall yield [scarcely] one bath [of wine], and a homer of seed shall yield [scarcely] one ephah [of corn].

11. Woe unto them who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink; who continue late in the evening, that wine may inflame them!

12. And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and the pipe, and wine, are their feasts: but the work of Jehovah they regard not; and the operation of His hands they do not behold.

13. Wherefore My people goes into captivity for want of knowledge; and their glory are men [dying] of hunger, and their multitude are dried up with thirst.

14. Therefore hell has enlarged itself, and has stretched open its mouth without measure: her glory, and her multitude, and her throng, and all who exult in her, shall descend into it.

15. And the [mean] man shall be bowed down, and the [great] man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the haughty shall be cast down:

16. And Jehovah of Hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God the Holy [One] shall be sanctified in justice.

17. Then shall the lambs feed as on their pastures, and the deserted places of the fat ones shall the [flocks of] strangers consume.

18. Woe unto them who draw iniquity with cords of vanity; and sin, as with the thick traces of a waggon:

19. Who say, Let Him make speed, and let Him hasten His work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and come to pass., that we may know it !

20. Woe unto them who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

21. Woe unto them who are wise in their own eyes, and intelligent before their own faces!

22. Woe unto them who are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:

23. Who justify the guilty for a reward, and take away the justice of the just from him!

24. Therefore as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and, as the flame consumes the chaff, so shall their root become like rottenness, and their blossom shall go up like the dust: because they have rejected the law of Jehovah of Hosts, and despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel.

25. Wherefore the anger of Jehovah is kindled against His people, and He has stretched out His hand against them, and has smitten them: and the mountains tremble, and their carcases are as the dung in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned back, but His hand is stretched out still.

26. And He will erect a standard for the nations afar off, and He will hiss unto them from the end of the earth; and, behold, with speed shall they come swiftly:

27. None among them is faint, and none stumbles: none shall slumber or sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed; nor shall the latchet of their shoes be unbound:

28. Whose arrows are sharpened, and all their bows are bent; the hoofs of their horses shall be accounted as a rock, and their wheels as a whirlwind:

29. Their roaring is like the roaring of a lion; like young lions shall they roar: they shall roar, and shall seize the prey; and they shall bear it away, and none shall deliver.

30. In that day shall they roar against them "like the roaring of the sea; and if one look into the land, lo ! darkness, distress, and the light is darkened in the ruins thereof.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 5


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 1839

Apocalypse Revealed 413, 471

Doctrine of the Lord 4

True Christian Religion 761


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 526, 601

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 9, 39, 73

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Related Books  (see all)


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Isaiah 8:22, 17:12

Jeremiah 4:23, 6:23

Bible Word Meanings

day
"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...

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

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

land
Is there any difference in meaning between “earth” and “ground”? At first it doesn’t seem so; both refer to the soil making up the land...

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...

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...


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