The Bible

 

Genesis 1

King James Version         

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

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

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last 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:



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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

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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...

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Resources for parents and teachers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

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

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

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

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

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #594

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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594. Encompassed with a cloud.- That this signifies the ultimate of the Word, is evident from the signification of being encompassed, as denoting what is outside of one, for that which is around is also outside, since it is beyond in the circumference; in this case therefore it denotes the ultimate; and from the signification of a cloud, as denoting Divine Truth in the ultimates, consequently the Word in the sense of the letter. This signification of cloud is evident from appearances in the spiritual world; also from the Word, where clouds are mentioned. From appearances in the spiritual world, as follows; the whole angelic heaven consists solely of the Divine Truth which proceeds from the Lord, the reception of which makes angels. In the highest heaven this truth appears like the pure aura which is called ether; in the lower heaven, as less pure, almost like the atmosphere, which is called air; in the lowest heaven it appears like a thin watery element, upon which vapour rests like a cloud. Such is the appearance of Divine Truth according to degrees in descent. A similar appearance is seen when the angels of the higher heavens speak concerning Divine truths, their discourse, in such case, appearing to the sight of those who are in the lowest heaven under the aspect of a cloud, which flies hither and thither, while the more intelligent among them know from its motion, brightness, and form, what the angels of the higher heavens are mutually discoursing about. The reason why a cloud signifies Divine Truth in ultimates is therefore evident. Because many expressions in the Word are chosen from appearances in the spiritual world, and consequently have a similar signification, therefore this is the case also with respect to clouds.

(References: Revelation 10:1)


[2] That a cloud signifies in the Word the sense of the letter, which is Divine Truth in ultimates, is evident from the following passages.

Thus in Matthew:

"Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John up to a high mountain, and was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. While Peter "was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and, behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, hear ye him" (xvii. 1-10; Mark ix. 1-11).

And in Luke:

While "Peter was thus speaking, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them; and they feared as they entered the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son; hear ye him" (ix. 34, 35).

The Lord in this transfiguration also represented the Divine Truth, which is the Word. For the Lord, when He was in the world, made His Human Divine Truth, and when He departed out of the world, He made His Human Divine Good by union with the Divine itself, which was in Him from conception. That the Lord made His Human Divine Truth when He was in the world, and afterwards Divine Good, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 303, 304, 305, 306), and that the Lord is the Word (n. 263). For this reason all the circumstances of the transfiguration of the Lord, signify Divine Truth proceeding from the Divine Good of the Lord. The Divine Good of the Divine Love, which was in Him, and from which was the Divine Truth in His Human, was represented by His face shining as the sun, for the face represents the interiors, therefore these shine forth through the face, and the sun signifies the Divine Love; see above (n. 401:3, 424:1-10). The Divine Truth was represented by the Lord's garments which were like the light. Garments in the Word signify truths, and the garments of the Lord the Divine Truth; see above (n. 64, 271, 395); on this account also they appeared like the light; for Divine Truth is the cause of light in the angelic heaven, and is therefore signified by light in the Word; concerning which more may be seen in Heaven and Hell (n. 126-140). Because the Word, which is the Divine Truth, was represented, therefore Moses and Elias were seen speaking with him, Moses and Elias signifying the Word, Moses the historical, and Elias the prophetical Word; but the Word in the letter was represented by the cloud which overshadowed the disciples, and into which they entered. For the disciples, in the Word, represented the church, which, at that time and afterwards, was only in truths from the sense of the letter. And because revelation and responses are given by means of the Divine Truth in ultimates, as stated in the article above, and this truth is the truth of the sense of the letter of the Word, therefore a voice was heard out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, hear ye him," denoting that He is the Divine Truth, or the Word.

(References: Heaven and Hell 126-140; Luke 9:34-35; Mark 9:1-10, 9:1-11; Matthew 17:1-5, 17:1-10; The Apocalypse Explained 64, The Apocalypse Explained 271, 395, 401, 412; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 263, 303-306)


[3] He who does not know that a cloud in the spiritual sense of the Word means the Word in the letter, cannot know the interior truth involved in these words; That in the consummation of the age "they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory" (Matt. xxiv. 30; Mark xiii. 26; xiv. 61, 62; Luke xxi. 27).

And in the Apocalypse:

"Behold," Jesus Christ "cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him" (i. 7).

And again:

"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man" (xiv. 14).

And in Daniel:

"I saw in visions of the night, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of the heavens" (vii. 13).

He who is ignorant of the fact that clouds signify the truths of the Word in the sense of the letter, cannot but suppose that in the consummation of the age, that is, in the end of the church, the Lord will come in the clouds of heaven, and manifest himself to the world. But it is well known that since the giving of the Word, the Lord manifests Himself by means of that alone, for the Word, which is the Divine Truth, is the Lord Himself in heaven and in the church. From this it is first evident, that the manifestation there predicted signifies His manifestation in the Word; and the manifestation of the Lord in the Word was accomplished by His opening and revealing its internal or spiritual sense, for in this sense is the Divine Truth itself, such as it is in heaven, and the Divine Truth in heaven is the Lord Himself there. It is now therefore evident that by the Lord's coming in the clouds of heaven with glory, is signified the revelation of Him in the sense of the letter of the Word from its spiritual sense. The clouds of heaven signify those things that are of the sense of the letter, and glory those that are of the spiritual sense, as may be seen in Heaven and Hell (n. 1); and the revelation itself of the spiritual sense, in the White Horse; the Son of man also signifies the Lord as to Divine Truth, as may be seen above (n. 63, 151).

(References: Daniel 7:13; Heaven and Hell 1; Luke 21:27; Mark 13:26, 14:61-62, 14:62; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7, Revelation 14:14; The Apocalypse Explained 63, The Apocalypse Explained 151)


[4] That a cloud signifies the Divine Truth in ultimates, consequently the Word in the sense of the letter, is still further evident from the following passages.

Thus in Isaiah:

"Behold, Jehovah rideth upon a light cloud, and cometh into Egypt; and the idols of Egypt are put in commotion before Him, and the heart of the Egyptian melteth in the midst of him " (xix. 1).

By Egypt in these words is not meant Egypt, but the natural man separated from the spiritual, which is then in falsities and evils, and by means of these perverts all the truths and goods of the church. That those falsities and evils destroy it, when truth from good flows in from the Lord, is described by these words of the prophet understood in the internal sense. Jehovah riding upon a light cloud, signifies the Lord enlightening the understanding with truths, to ride, when used in reference to Jehovah, or the Lord, denoting to enlighten the understanding, and a light cloud denoting truth; that then the idols of Egypt are put in commotion, and the heart of the Egyptian melteth, signifies, that the evils and falsities of the natural man separated from the spiritual, then destroy him, idols denoting falsities, the heart denoting evils, and Egypt, the natural man.

(References: Isaiah 19:1)


[5] So in Moses:

"There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth in heaven and in his magnificence upon the clouds, the dwelling-place of the God of antiquity, and underneath (are) the arms of the world" (Deut. xxxiii. 26, 27).

Here also by riding in the heaven on the clouds, is signified to enlighten the understanding by the influx of spiritual truth into natural truth, which is the truth of the sense of the letter of the Word. Because the Divine Truth in the heavens is spiritual, and the Divine Truth in the earths (terris) is natural, and the latter is enlightened by the former, therefore it is said, "and in his magnificence upon the clouds." "The dwelling-place of the God of antiquity," denotes the Divine Truth with the angels, while the expression "the arms of the world" denotes truths with men; the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word are meant by the arms of the world, for that sense is the very strength of Divine Truth, arms signifying strength. That the strength of Divine Truth is in the sense of the letter of the Word may be seen in the article above.

(References: Deuteronomy 33:26-27)


[6] So in David:

God "rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea he was carried upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his hiding-place; his pavilion round about him, darkness of waters, clouds of the heavens. At the brightness before him the clouds passed" (Psalm xviii. 10-12).

Here also the enlightenment of the Word is described, and thence the enlightenment of the church. Enlightenment by the influx of Divine Truth out of the heavens is signified by, he rode upon a cherub, and did fly. Divine truth in ultimates, which is enlightened, is signified by the wings of the wind, darkness of waters, and clouds of the heavens; the various degrees of the understanding which receives enlightenment are signified by those things. That the obscurities of the ultimate sense are consequently removed, is meant by, at the brightness before him the clouds passed.

(References: Psalms 18:10-12)


[7] So again:

"Sing unto God, praise his name; extol him that rideth upon the clouds" (Psalm lxviii. 4).

By Him that rideth upon the clouds, is here also meant the Lord as to enlightenment. Clouds denote truths in the ultimates, which are enlightened, and this enlightenment takes place by the influx of light, which is Divine Truth, out of the spiritual world or heaven.

(References: Ezekiel 10:3-4; Psalms 68:4)


[8] So in Nahum:

"The way of Jehovah is in storms and tempest, and the clouds are the dust of his feet" (i. 3).

Truth in ultimates, which is the truth of the sense of the letter of the Word, is called the clouds, the dust of the feet of Jehovah, because it is the natural and lowest [truth], in which the Divine Truth in heaven, which is spiritual, terminates, and upon which also it subsists. Divine Truth in ultimates, because little understood unless it be enlightened out of heaven, and therefore a ground of disputation and controversy, is meant by the storm and the tempest, in which is the way of Jehovah, spiritual storm and tempest denoting disputation concerning the genuine sense [of the Word], which nevertheless the Lord enlightens by influx in the case of those who desire the truth.

(References: Nahum 1:3)


[9] So in David:

"His seed shall be for ever, and his throne as the sun before thee. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in the clouds" (lxxxix. 36, 37).

These things are said of the Lord, and by the seed which shall endure for ever, is signified the Divine Truth from Him. His throne which shall be as the sun, and as the moon, signifies heaven and the church, as to the good of love, and as to the truth of faith; throne signifies heaven and the church, "as the sun" signifies as to the good of love, and "as the moon" signifies as to the truth of faith. A faithful witness in the clouds, signifies that He is the Divine Truth; for "witness," when used in reference to the Lord, signifies that which goes forth from Him, and this bears witness concerning Him because it is of Him.

(References: Psalms 89:36-37)


[10] Again:

Jehovah "layeth his chambers in the waters; who maketh the clouds his chariot; who walketh upon the wings of the wind" (Psalm civ. 3).

These few words are descriptive of heaven and the church, and at the same time of doctrine from the Word. Jehovah layeth his chambers in the waters, signifies that the Lord forms heaven and the church from Divine Truths; waters signify Divine Truths, the chambers of Jehovah signify the heavens and the church, and to lay, signifies to form. Who maketh the clouds his chariot, signifies doctrine from ultimate Divine Truths, clouds denoting ultimate Divine Truths, such as are in the sense of the letter of the Word, and a chariot denoting doctrine; this is said because everything of the doctrine of the church must be formed from, and confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word. Who walketh upon the wings of the wind, signifies life communicated to doctrine from spiritual influx, to walk signifying to live, and, when used in reference to the Lord, life itself, the wings of the wind denoting the spiritual things of the Word. That waters signify truths, maybe seen above (n. 71, 483, 518, 537, 538).

(References: Psalms 104:3; The Apocalypse Explained 71, The Apocalypse Explained 483, The Apocalypse Explained 518, The Apocalypse Explained 537-538)


[11] So in Isaiah:

"I will lay" my vineyard "waste; I will even command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it" (v. 5, 6).

These words mean that then there shall be no understanding of Divine Truth or the Word in the church; the vineyard denotes the church, clouds denote the Word in the letter, and by their raining no rain, is meant that there shall be no understanding of Divine Truth from the Word.

(References: Isaiah 5:6)


[12] Again, in David:

Jehovah, "who covereth the heavens with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains" (Psalm cxlvii. 8).

To cover the heavens with clouds, signifies to defend and keep together the spiritual things of the Word which are in the heavens, by natural truths such as are in the sense of the letter of the Word. Who prepareth rain for the earth, signifies instruction thence for the church; who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains, signifies nourishment by means of it for those who are in the good of love.

(References: Psalms 147:8)


[13] The same is signified by the following words in Isaiah:

"Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down with justice; let the earth open, and bring forth salvation" (xlv. 8).

And in Judges:

"Jehovah, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedest out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens also dropped, the clouds also dropped waters" (v. 4).

Going forth out of Seir, and marching out of the field of Edom, signifies in reference to Jehovah, the enlightenment of the Gentiles by the Lord, when He assumed the Human. By the earth trembling, is signified the completely changed state of the church at that time. By the heavens dropping, and the clouds dropping waters, are signified instruction, influx, and the perception of Divine Truth; to drop signifies instruction and influx, water denotes truths, the heavens denote the interior things of truth, and clouds, the exterior, such as they are in the sense of the letter of the Word.

(References: Isaiah 45:8; Judges 5:4)


[14] Again, in David:

"The clouds dropped waters; the skies uttered a voice, thy darts also went forth" (Ps. lxxvii. 17).

By the clouds dropping waters, is signified that genuine truths are from the sense of the letter of the Word; by the skies uttering a voice is signified influx from the heavens; by thy darts also went forth, are signified Divine Truths therefrom.

So in Job:

God "bindeth up the waters in his clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. He spreadeth his cloud upon" his throne (xxvi. 8, 9).

Here, also, clouds denote ultimate truths in order, and because these contain in themselves and include spiritual truths, so that they may not be dissipated, this is expressed and signified by God binding up the waters in His clouds, and by the cloud not being rent. Because exterior truths which are called natural, also encompass and enclose interior truths, which are called spiritual, and are proper to the angels of the heavens, this fact is expressed and signified by, "He spreadeth his cloud upon his throne."

(References: Acts of the Apostles 26:8-9; Job 26:8-9; Psalms 77:17)


[15] And in Isaiah:

"Jehovah said, I will take my rest, and I will behold in my dwelling-place as a clear heat upon light, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest" (xviii. 4).

A cloud of dew signifies truth fructifying from good.

Again, in the same prophet:

"Jehovah will create upon every dwelling-place of Mount Zion, and upon all her assemblies, a cloud by day, and the smoke and shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory shall be a covering" (iv. 5).

Here the dwelling-place of Mount Zion signifies the good of the celestial church, and her assemblies signify the truths of that good; its defence, lest it should be injured from too much light or from too much shade, is signified by the cloud by day, and the smoke and shining of a flaming fire by night. And since all spiritual good and truth are preserved by natural good and truth from being injured, it is therefore said that upon all the glory shall be a covering, glory denoting spiritual good and truth.

(References: Isaiah 4:5, Isaiah 18:4)


[16] The same is signified by, "The cloud upon the tabernacle by day and the fire by night" (Exod. xl. 36-38; Num. ix. 15-17 to end; x. 11, 12, 34; xiv. 14; Deut. i. 33). Also by Jehovah going before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire (Exod. xiii. 21), and by the pillar of a cloud that stood between the camp of the sons of Israel and the camp of the Egyptians (Exod. xiv. 19-21).

And in David:

God led them in a cloud by day, and all the night in the light of fire (Psalm lxxviii. 14).

And again:

"Egypt was glad when they departed; for the fear of them fell upon them. He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give them light in the night" (Psalm cv. 38, 39).

The reason why a cloud was upon the tabernacle by day, and a fire by night, was, that the tabernacle represented heaven and the church, the cloud, the presence of the Lord by means of Divine Truth, and the fire, His presence by means of Divine Good, which is called the good of faith, each ultimate in order, therefore they were as coverings for the tabernacle; on this account it is said in the passages adduced above from David and Isaiah: "Over all the glory shall be a covering and, "be spread a cloud for a covering."

The same is signified by the cloud which covered Mount Horeb, and into which Moses entered; also by the cloud in which Jehovah descended on Mount Sinai, and by the pillar of a cloud which stood at the door of the tent of Moses (Exod. xxiv. 15-17, 18; xix. 16, 18; xxxiv. 5; xxxiii. 9, 10).

(References: Deuteronomy 1:33; Exodus 13:21, 14:19-21, Exodus 19:9, 19:16, 19:18, 24:15-18, 33:9-10, 34:5, 40:36-38; Numbers 9:15-23, 10:11-12, 10:34, 14:14; Psalms 78:14, Psalms 105:38-39)


[17] This is also the signification of the cloud in the following passages in Ezekiel:

"I looked, and behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it" (i. 4).

And again:

"The cherubim stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of Jehovah went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of Jehovah's glory" (x. 3, 4).

The cherubim here signify the Lord's care, that he may not be approached except through the good of love; hence cherubim signify the heavens, particularly, the inmost or third heaven, because the angels of that heaven receive Divine Truth in the good of love, therefore it is Divine Truth that defends, which, in its essence, is the good of love. This Divine Truth, as it descends out of the inmost heaven into the lower heavens, and at length into the world where men are, from being pure becomes gradually denser. This is the reason why it appears in the lowest degree like a cloud, which signifies the Divine Truth accommodated to the apprehension of the angels in the lowest heaven, who are spiritual-natural, and, lastly, to the apprehension of men in the natural world. And because the Divine Truth in this degree is similar to the Divine Truth as it is in the sense of the letter of the Word, therefore a cloud signifies the Word as to the sense of the letter. This Divine Truth is that which filled the court like a cloud, and lastly the house, at the right side of which the cherubim stood. And because this Divine Truth is interiorly spiritual, and shines from celestial light, therefore it is called glory, and it is said that the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of Jehovah. Hence also it is said in Job:

"When" "God causeth the light of his cloud to shine?" (xxxvi. 15).

(References: Ezekiel 1:4, Ezekiel 10:3-4; Job 37:15)


[18] Since the higher heavens appear to the eyes of those who are in the lower heavens as though covered over with a thin bright cloud, because the lower angels cannot behold the higher or interior Divine except according to their quality, therefore also the Divine Truth in the higher heavens, or what is the same thing, the higher heavens themselves, are in some passages of the Word meant by clouds. For whether we say Divine Truth, or the heavens, it is the same thing, since the heavens are heavens from the Divine Truth, and the angels there are angels from the reception of it. In this sense clouds are mentioned in Isaiah:

Lucifer, "thou saidst in thine heart, I will ascend above the heights of the cloud; I will become like the Most High" (xiv. 14).

And in Jeremiah:

"Forsake" Babylon, "and let us go everyone into his own land; for her judgment hath reached unto the heavens, and she hath lifted up herself even to the clouds" (li. 9).

And in David:

"Ascribe ye strength unto God; over Israel is his majesty, and his strength is in the clouds" (Psalm lxviii. 34).

In these passages clouds signify the same thing as the waters above the firmament (Gen. i. 7), and the waters above the heavens (Psalm cxlviii. 4); for clouds are formed of water. That waters signify Divine Truth, may be seen above (n. 7, 483, 518).

(References: Genesis 1:7; Isaiah 14:13-14, 14:14; Jeremiah 51:9; Psalms 68:34, Psalms 148:4; The Apocalypse Explained 71, The Apocalypse Explained 483, The Apocalypse Explained 518)


[19] Since there are clouds of a thinner and brighter quality, and also of a denser and darker kind, and because the thinner and brighter appear beneath the heavens, but the denser and darker about many of the hells, it is therefore evident that, in the opposite sense, clouds also signify the falsities of evil, which are contrary to truths from good; as in the following passages.

Thus in Ezekiel:

As for Egypt, "a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity" (xxx. 18).

Again, in the same prophet:

He shall ascend, "like a cloud to cover the land" (xxxviii. 9).

And again:

The sheep "scattered in the day of cloud and thick darkness" (xxxiv. 12).

Hence also the last judgment, when those who are in falsities of evil are about to perish, is called "A day of cloud and obscurity" (Joel ii. 2; Zephaniah i. 15). The signification of "the cloud, and thick darkness," which appeared to the sons of Israel when the law was given from Mount Sinai, is similar (Deut. iv. 11, 12, 15; v. 22, 26). For although Jehovah, that is, the Lord, descended upon that mountain in a bright cloud, yet it appeared before the eyes of the people, who were in falsities of evil, like a gloomy cloud; see the Arcana Coelestia (n. 1861, 6832, 8814, 8819, 9434, 10,551).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1861, 6832, 8814, 8819, 9434, 10551; Deuteronomy 4:11-12, 4:15, 5:22-26; Exodus 19:9; Ezekiel 30:18, 34:12, 38:9; Isaiah 14:14; Joel 2:2; Matthew 17:1-5; Revelation 10:1; Zephaniah 1:15)

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Isaiah 45:7

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7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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Explanation of Isaiah 45      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 45

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

1. THUS says Jehovah to His Anointed, to Cyrus, whom I hold by the right hand, to subdue nations before Him; and I will loose the loins of kings: I will open before Him the two-leaved doors; and the gates shall not be shut:

2. I will go before You, and make the crooked places straight: the folding gates of brass will I break in pieces, and the bars of iron will I cut in sunder:

VERSE 1. By "Cyrus", in a representative sense, is understood the Lord. His Omnipotence and Omniscience from Divine Good by Divine Truth, by virtue of which in the world He subjugated all the hells, and afterwards keeps them subjugated for ever, is signified by "whom I hold by the right hand, to subdue nations before Him, and I will loose the loins of kings", likewise by "I will open before Him the two-leaved doors, and the gates shall not be shut."

By "the nations which should be subdued before Him", are signified the hells as to evils, and by "the kings whose loins He should loose", are signified the hells as to falsities; by "the doors which will be opened before Him, and the gates which shall not be shut", is understood that from Omniscience all things are manifested to Him, and that from Omnipotence He has the power of saving. Apocalypse Explained 298.

Verses 1-3.Here the Lord as to His Divine Human is treated of, who, in the representative sense, is "Cyrus." To "open before Him the doors", is to give access to the Divine Itself; hence it is that He also, as to His Human, is called "God", and in this passage the "God of Israel." Arcana Coelestia 8989.

By "opening the doors, that the gates may not be shut"; is signified perpetual admission; by "nations" and "kings" are meant they who are in Goods and in Truths, and, abstractedly, Goods and Truths, as was said above.

By "treasures of darkness" and by "hidden riches of secret places", is signified interior intelligence and wisdom from heaven; for the things which enter by the "gate" which is open from heaven, concerning which we have spoken above, come in secretly, and affect all things which are with man, whence arises the spiritual affection of Truth, whereby things which were before unknown are revealed. Apocalypse Explained 208.

By "Koresh." [Hebrew] or by "Cyrus" are understood those who serve as instruments for the restoration of the church, who are consequently sent before; but that they are only instruments is here clearly stated. Cyrus is before called "Shepherd", who will do the [Lord's] will; thus the instrumental is designated by the same name as the principal cause, as elsewhere, when the Angel of GOD MESSIAH is called "Jehovah", because JEHOVAH GOD spoke by him, Yea, this mode of speaking extends further, as when it is said that "Jehovah kills", (Exodus 4:24; 32:10) and that "He does evil", as in verse 7 of this chapter, and similar things; this is so said because they are mere instruments which have such things in themselves as to produce such effects [ut fiat]; here Cyrus is called the "Anointed of Jehovah" from a similar cause. To "take hold of His right hand", is to effect this; to "subdue nations before Him", namely, to obedience, [signifies] that they may be prepared for His coming, thus to "open the doors", etc. "I will go before You" involves what is similar, that GOD MESSIAH alone will effect this; "making crooked things straight" signifies perverse doctrine, which, about the time of the coming of GOD MESSIAH, is perverse [crooked]; for the world is then compared to a "desert" and to a "desolate place"; the "folding gates of brass" are those things which are natural, and which have perverted man; the "bars of iron" are corporeal things, which have made the way of Truth "crooked." (Swedenborg's Notes on Isaiah, p. 115.)

Verse 2. I will make the crooked places straight, etc. - The "crooked being made straight" denotes the evil of ignorance turned into Good, for "length" and the "things of length" are predicated of Good; the "rough ways" (Chapter 40:4) being made smooth, denote that the falsities of ignorance shall be turned into Truths, for "way" is predicated of Truth. Arcana Coelestia 3527.

The bars of iron will I cut asunder. - The "bars" [or staves] with which the ark carried signify power, and also the "bars" with which the gates of cities were fastened, as is evident from the following passages:

"The sword falls upon his cities, and consumes his bars." (Hosea 11:6) "For your sake have I sent to Babylon, and will cast down all her bars." (Isaiah 43:14) "The folding gates of brass will I break in pieces, and the bars of iron will I cut in sunder." (Isaiah 45:2) Arcana Coelestia 9496.

3. And I will give unto You the treasures of darkness, and the hidden riches of secret places: that You mayest know that I am Jehovah, who calls You by Your name, the God of Israel.

4. For the sake of Jacob My servant, and of Israel My chosen, I have even called You by Your name: I have surnamed You, though You have not known Me.

Verse 3. The "treasures of darkness" and the "hidden riches of secret places", are such things as are of heavenly intelligence and wisdom which are hidden from the natural man. Arcana Coelestia 10227

Spiritual "riches", in respect to the good, are nothing else but Goods and Truths with which they are gifted and enriched by the Lord. "Wealth" and "riches", in respect to the evil, are nothing else but evils and falsities which they have acquired to themselves. Such things are also signified by "wealth" in the Word. Arcana Coelestia 1694.

Verses 3, 4. That You mayest know that I am Jehovah, who calls You by Your name; - for the sake of Jacob My servant, and of Israel My chosen, etc..."I have called You by Your name" denotes that He knew the quality of the state of the church; for "Jacob" and "Israel" are the church, - "Jacob" the external church, and "Israel" the internal church. Apocalypse Explained 148. See also Arcana Coelestia 3441.

As to the "name" of the Lord, see above, Chapter 26:8, the Exposition.

5. I am Jehovah, and there is none else; beside Me there is no God: I have girded You, though You have not known Me:

Verse 5. That the Lord JESUS CHRIST is the ONE only GOD of heaven and earth, or that He is JEHOVAH in His Humanity, see above, Chapter 1:2, the Exposition.

I have girded You, etc. - What is meant by "girding" and by "girdle", when predicated of the Lord, see Chapter 11:5, 6, the Exposition.

6. That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me: I am Jehovah, and there is none else;

Verse 6. From the rising of the sun, and from the west, etc. - See Chapter 41:25; 43:5, 6, the Exposition.

7. Forming light, and creating darkness; making peace, and creating evil: I, Jehovah, do all these.

Verse 7. [These words imply] that GOD MESSIAH is the only Former of the new man; a comparison is taken from the sun, that GOD MESSIAH, as a Sun, "forms wisdom and light", that is, intelligence; and He "creates darkness", that it may serve "light" for everything useful; for without "darkness" there can be no reformation; but it is the conformation [of light with darkness] which makes that which is beautiful. It is said comparatively, and it is understood, that without a mixture of shade with light, nothing appears, yea, no colour, no distinction, consequently, no beauty. It is similar as to "peace", by which is understood Good; for no Good is given but in "peace which reigns", etc. etc. It is also the case with "evil" in respect to Good; which [evil], however, GOD MESSIAH does not form, but "creates", that hence Good may be "formed", etc. (Swedenborg's Notes on Isaiah, p. 116.)

[It does not appear that Swedenborg has quoted this verse in any of the works printed by himself; but from the rough notes adduced above, and from other passages in his writings, it appears, as a most general Truth, that all things, both "light" and "darkness", "good" and "evil": come from God, who, indeed, is the only Source of all existence; whether good or evil. This most general Truth is implanted in children, before they have learned to think and to make any discrimination in their ideas, and who consequently believe that evil, such as the evil of temptation, the evil of punishment, and of anger, etc., is inflicted by God, and consequently comes from Him. This most general Truth was believed by the Jews, and in general by the simple and the uninstructed in the church at the present day. From this cause it is that in order that the Word may be adapted to all states of mental development, even to the states of early childhood, its divine Truth in ultimates is clothed in many cases in a cloud of great obscurity, as in this verse, in which "darkness" as well as "light", "evil" as well as "good", are ascribed to Jehovah. For the human mind is, at first, in a kind of chaos, (Genesis 1:1, 2) in which light and darkness, good and evil, are, as it "were, mixed together, and both indiscriminately ascribed to God. But by the process of instruction and regeneration, these elements gradually become distinguished by the mind, when it is seen that only what is Good and True call come from God, and that all evil and falsity arise from the perversion of these things, as they are received by human minds in a perverse state; and that the Word in the letter ascribes, according to the appearance, all things, whether good or evil, to the Lord. Moreover, it should be observed that there is, by creation, a "darkness" which is the absence of "light", but not the opposite to "light", or opposed, in the sense of hostility, to "light; and that there is an "evil" which is the absence of Good, but not necessarily the opponent, in the sense of hostility, to Good. This is the necessary condition of the Finite, as contrasted with the Infinite; and in this sense God may be said to "create darkness and evil." Thus there is the evil of ignorance in the minds of children and of the uninstructed; - this evil is denoted by "the crooked places", (see verse 2 of this chapter, and Exposition; also Chapter 40:4) which, when the mind is instructed in Truths, can be "made straight", or converted into genuine Good; and there is also the darkness of ignorance, denoted by "the rough places", which, by instruction, can be "made smooth, or be converted into Truths from Good. This darkness must be well distinguished from the "darkness" of evil as opposed to Good, and from the "darkness" of negative and false reasonings as opposed to Truth. See Chapter 8:21, 22, note.]

8. Drop down, O you heavens, from above; and let the clouds shower down justice: let the earth open, and let them bring forth the fruit of salvation; and let justice spring up together: I, Jehovah, will create it.

Verses 8, 12, 18, 19. That by the "heavens" and the "earth" are here understood all things of the church, as well the internals as the externals thereof, is evident, for it is said "Drop down, O you heavens, from above; and let the clouds shower down justice: let the earth open, and let them bring forth the fruit of [or fructify] salvation", The reason why the "heavens" signify the interior things of the church is, because the interior things, which appertain to the mind of the spiritual man, are the heavens appertaining to man. That "heaven" appertains to man, with whom the church is, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell 30-57.

By "creating the heavens, and forming the earth, and making and preparing it", is signified fully to establish the church. Apocalypse Explained 304.

By "the heavens dropping doum from above, and the clouds showering down justice", are signified instruction, influx, and perception of divine Truth. Apocalypse Explained 594.

9. Woe unto him that strives with his Former! a potsherd with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that forms it, What makes you? or shall your work [say of you], He has no hands?

Verse 9. A potsherd with the potsherds of the earth. - See above. Chapter 30:10, J1, 12, 14, the Exposition.

"He has no hands" signifies no power. Arcana Coelestia 878.

That the "hand", the "arm", and the "shoulder" correspond to power, see Chapter 25:11, the Exposition.

10. Woe unto him that says to his father, What begets you? or to the woman, What do you bring forth?

Verse. 10. These words treat of reformation, that it is from the Lord, and not from man. Apocalypse Explained 721.

11. Thus says Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and his Former: Ask of Me signs concerning My sons; and concerning the work of My hands command you Me.

12. I have made the. earth, and I have created man upon it: My hands, even Mine, have stretched out the heavens; and all the host of them I have commanded,

Verses 11, 13. The subject here treated of is also concerning the advent of the Lord, and the establishment of the church from Him. The Lord is understood by "Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and his Former", "who is called the "Holy One of Israel" from Divine Truth, and his "Former" from the establishment of the church thereby; and "Israel" denotes the church; therefore by "His sons concerning whom they asked signs", are understood those who are in Truths from the Lord; and by "the work of His hands", is understood their formation, and the establishment of the church with them. "I have raised Him up in justice, and I will make straight all His ways", signifies that to Him appertain Divine Good and Divine Truth; for "justice", in the Word, is predicated of Good, and "ways "of Truths leading, - in this case, Divine Truths, because predicated of the Lord. "He shall" build My city, and dismiss [or release] My captives", signifies that He shall restore the doctrine of Truth, and that He shall liberate those who are in falsities from ignorance; for a "city" signifies the doctrine of Truth, and "captivity" the falsities of ignorance, in which the Gentiles were, and thereby in spiritual captivity. "Not for price, nor for reward", signifies gratis from Divine Love. Apocalypse Explained 706.

As to "captivity" and "captives", see Chapter 61:1, the Exposition.

13. I have raised Him up in justice, and I will make straight all His ways: He shall build My city, and dismiss My captives; not for price, nor for reward, says Jehovah of Hosts.

14. Thus says Jehovah, The labour of Egypt, find the merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to You, and they shall be Thine: they shall come after You; in bonds shall they come over; they shall bow down unto You, and shall pray unto You, [saying] In You only is God; and there is none else; there is no God else.

Verse 13. By "the justice in which Jehovah has raised Him up", is signified the Good of love; and by "His ways, which He will make straight", are signified Truths proceeding from that Good.

By "the city which He shall build", is signified the doctrine of the church; and by "the captives whom He shall dismiss", are signified the opening and revelation of divine Truths with those who were heretofore secluded from them. That the Lord will do these things gratis, is signified by "not for price, nor for reward." Apocalypse Explained 811.

Jehovah of Hosts. - For the signification of the phrase "Jehovah of Hosts", when mentioned in the Word, see Chapter 1:9, 24, the Exposition.

Verse 14. These things are said concerning the Lord, who is treated of in the whole of this chapter.

By "the labour of Egypt", and by "the merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans", is signified the delight of natural love, arising from the acquisition of the knowledges of Truth and of Good; those knowledges themselves are signified by the "Sabeans", who are called "men of stature [or length]" from Good; for "length" signifies Good and the quality thereof, and "breadth" Truth and its quality. That they would accede to the church, and acknowledge and adore the Lord, is signified by "they shall come over to You, and they shall be Thine; they shall bow down unto You." That the natural man with them should serve the spiritual, and thereby the Lord, is signified by "in bonds shall they come over"; for they are said to "come in bonds" with whom the cupidities appertaining to the natural man are restrained. That they shall acknowledge the Lord alone to be God, is understood by "they shall pray unto You, [saying] In You only is God; and there is no God else." Apocalypse Explained 654.

15. Verily, You art a God that hidest Yourself, O God of Israel, the Saviour!

Verses 14, 15. In You only is God; and there is none else; verily, You art a God that hides Yourself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. - From these passages, and from many others of similar import, it clearly appears that the LORD our Saviour is JEHOVAH Himself who is at once the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Regenerator; for it was JEHOVAH who came into the world and accomplished the work of redemption, without which neither man nor angel could have been saved. Hence it is that the divine commandment, "You shalt have no other Gods before Me", enjoins that no other GOD is to be worshipped than the Lord JESUS CHRIST. True Christian Religion 294.

That the Lord JESUS CHRIST is "JEHOVAH GOD", see Chapter 1:2, the Exposition.

Verse 15. ["That hides Yourself" refers to the assumption of the Humanity, in which, during His life in the world, GOD, being clothed with the infirmities of our fallen nature, was, as it were, hidden; but after He had become fully glorified, He brought Himself fully out to view as the "Father of Eternity "]

16. They are ashamed, they are confounded, all of them: together shall they go in to disgrace, the makers of idols.

17. But Israel shall be saved in Jehovah with an eternal salvation: you shall not be ashamed, neither shall you be confounded, to the ages of eternity.

Verse 16. That the "makers of idols" (or of deceptions), or those who frame from self-derived intelligence false doctrines, will, from their evils and falsities at the time of Judgment, be disgraced and confounded, see Chapter 24:21, 23, 40:18-20, the Exposition.

18. For thus says Jehovah, who created the heavens; God Himself who formed the earth and made it; He has established it, He has created it not to be empty, He has formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah, and there is none else.

19. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I have not said to the seed of Jacob, Seek you Me in vain: I am Jehovah, who speaks justice; who declares things that are right.

Verse 18. By "heavens" and by "earth", and by creating, signified to reform the church as well in internals as in externals; by" creating it not to be empty" is signified that it is not without Truth and Good, in which they are who are reformed, - the want of the principles is "emptiness"; by "He has formed it to be inhabited, is signified that they should live according to Good and Truth, and from them, for to " inhabit " signifies to live. Apocalypse Explained 294.

20. Assemble yourselves, and come; draw near together, you that are escaped from among the nations: they know nothing that carry about the wood of their graven image, and that pray to a god which cannot save.

21. Declare it, and bring them near; and let them take counsel together: who has made this known from ancient times? who has declared it from the first? Is it not I, Jehovah? there is no other God but Me: a just God, and a Saviour; there is none beside Me!

Verse 20. They know nothing that carry about the wood of their graven image, and that pray to a god which cannot save. - [To "carry about the wood of their graven image", etc., is to live and to worship according to false doctrine, and thus to be in evil.]

22. Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.

Verse 22. As to what is meant by the ends or extremities of the earth, see above Chapter 42:10, 11; 43:5, 6, the Exposition.

23. By Myself have I sworn; justice is gone forth from My mouth; the word, and it shall not be revoked: that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear:

Verse 23. Treating concerning the advent of the Lord. By "every knee shall bow", is signified that all who are in natural Good from spiritual, shall worship Him, - the "knee" signifying the conjunction of natural. Good with spiritual; hence it is evident that "bending the knees" signifies acknowledgement, thanksgiving, and adoration, from spiritual Good and delight in the natural man.

By "every tongue shall swear", is meant that all shall confess Him who are in Good from religion; to "swear", denoting to confess, and the "tongue" the religion according to which they live. Apocalypse Explained 455.

It is said in the Word that Jehovah God, or the Lord, "swears", but this is only according to the sense of the letter, for it is not suitable to God Himself, or the Divine Truth, to swear; but when God, or the Divine Truth, wills to have anything confirmed before men, then that confirmation, descending into a natural sphere, falls into an oath, or into the usual form of an oath in the world. Hence it is evident that, although God never swears, still, in the sense of the letter of the Word, which sense is natural, it is said that He does "swear." It was allowed to the ancients, who were in the representatives and significatives of the church, to "swear by Jehovah God", that they might testify the Truth; and by that "oath" was signified that they thought what was True, and willed what was Good. This was especially allowed the sons of Jacob, inasmuch as they were altogether external and natural men, and not internal and spiritual; and merely external or natural men are willing to have Truth confirmed and testified by oaths, but internal or spiritual men are unwilling to admit of such confirmation, yea, they hold oaths in aversion, and think of them with horror, especially of those which have God for their object, and the holy things of heaven, and the church, being content to say, and to have it said that such a thing is true, or that it is so, according to the Lord's words, - "You shalt not swear at all"; also; "Let your discourse be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay", etc. Inasmuch as to "swear" is not of the internal or spiritual man, and as the Lord, when He came into the world, taught men to be internal and spiritual, and for this end, after having abrogated the externals of the [Jewish] church, He opened its internals, therefore, also, He prohibited "swearing by God, and by the holy things of heaven and the church." (See Matthew 5:33-37)

The holy things by which men are not to swear, are there mentioned, namely, "heaven", "earth", "Jerusalem", and the "head"; and by "heaven" is meant the angelic heaven, wherefore it is called "the throne of God"; by "earth" is meant the church, wherefore it is called, "God's footstool"; by "Jerusalem is meant the doctrine of the church, wherefore it is called "the city of the great King"; and by the "head" is meant intelligence thence derived, wherefore it is said, "You canst not make one hair white or black", by which is signified that man of himself cannot understand anything. Apocalypse Explained 608. See also Arcana Coelestia 2842 Arcana Coelestia 2842[1-10], 9166, and Heaven and Hell 271.

24. Only in Jehovah, said He to me, are justice and strength! to Him they shall come; they shall be ashamed, all who were incensed against Him.

Verse 24. By "all who were incensed against Jehovah shall be ashamed", is signified that all who are in evils and falsities shall recede from them. To be "angry against Jehovah", signifies to be in falsities from evil. Apocalypse Explained 693. See also Arcana Coelestia 357.

For the further meaning of "anger", when mentioned in the Word, see above, Chapter 42:24, 25, the Exposition.

25. In Jehovah shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Verse 25. By the "seed of Israel" are signified the things which belong to the church, or charity and faith; for these make the church with man. Arcana Coelestia 10248.

---
Isaiah Chapter 45

1. THUS says Jehovah to His Anointed, to Cyrus, whom I hold by the right hand, to subdue nations before Him; and I will loose the loins of kings: I will open before Him the two-leaved doors; and the gates shall not be shut:

2. I will go before You, and make the crooked places straight: the folding gates of brass will I break in pieces, and the bars of iron will I cut in sunder:

3. And I will give unto You the treasures of darkness, and the hidden riches of secret places: that You mayest know that I am Jehovah, who calls You by Your name, the God of Israel.

4. For the sake of Jacob My servant, and of Israel My chosen, I have even called You by Your name: I have surnamed You, though You have not known Me.

5. I am Jehovah, and there is none else; beside Me there is no God: I have girded You, though You have not known Me:

6. That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me: I am Jehovah, and there is none else;

7. Forming light, and creating darkness; making peace, and creating evil: I, Jehovah, do all these.

8. Drop down, O you heavens, from above; and let the clouds shower down justice: let the earth open, and let them bring forth the fruit of salvation; and let justice spring up together: I, Jehovah, will create it.

9. Woe unto him that striveth with his Former! a potsherd with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that forms it, What makest you? or shall your work [say of you], He has no hands?

10. Woe unto him that says to his father, What begettest you? or to the woman, What dost you bring forth?

11. Thus says Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and his Former: Ask of Me signs concerning My sons; and concerning the work of My hands command you Me.

12. I have made the. earth, and I have created man upon it: My hands, even Mine, have stretched out the heavens; and all the host of them I have commanded,

13. I have raised Him up in justice, and I will make straight all His ways: He shall build My city, and dismiss My captives; not for price, nor for reward, says Jehovah of Hosts.

14. Thus says Jehovah, The labour of Egypt, find the merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to You, and they shall be Thine: they shall come after You; in bonds shall they come over; they shall bow down unto You, and shall pray unto You, [saying] In You only is God; and there is none else; there is no God else.

15. Verily, You art a God that hides Yourself, O God of Israel, the Saviour!

16. They are ashamed, they are confounded, all of them: together shall they go in to disgrace, the makers of idols.

17. But Israel shall be saved in Jehovah with an eternal salvation: you shall not be ashamed, neither shall you be confounded, to the ages of eternity.

18. For thus says Jehovah, who created the heavens; God Himself who formed the earth and made it; He has established it, He has created it not to be empty, He has formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah, and there is none else.

19. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I have not said to the seed of Jacob, Seek you Me in vain: I am Jehovah, who speaks justice; who declares things that are right.

20. Assemble yourselves, and come; draw near together, you that are escaped from among the nations: they know nothing that carry about the wood of their graven image, and that pray to a god which cannot save.

21. Declare it, and bring them near; and let them take counsel together: who has made this known from ancient times? who has declared it from the first? Is it not I, Jehovah? there is no other God but Me: a just God, and a Saviour; there is none beside Me!

22. Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.

23. By Myself have I sworn; justice is gone forth from My mouth; the word, and it shall not be revoked: that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear:

24. Only in Jehovah, said He to me, are justice and strength! to Him they shall come; they shall be ashamed, all who were incensed against Him.

25. In Jehovah shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 45

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 For Reflection: Mixed Up Priorities
The Lord is the one and only great "I AM". But how easy it is for each of us to think "I am it"! Using quotations from the Word, reflect on giving glory to the Lord, and not to ourselves.
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