The Bible

 

Genesis 1

English: 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

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

True Christianity 20, 34, 46, 48, 364, 490


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

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

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:




Hop to Similar Bible Verses

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

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

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

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

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

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

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

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Word/Phrase Explanations

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

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

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

heaven
Heavens are celestial and spiritual things. Consequently, they are inmost things, both of the Lord's kingdom in heaven the and in the earth. This also...

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" is a state where truth is lacking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

called
'To 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...

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

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

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

land
'Lands' of different nations are used in the Word to signify the different kinds of love prevalent in the inhabitants.

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,...

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

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

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

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

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.

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;...

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

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...

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

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...

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:...

a
A help-meet for him,' or 'a help as before him,' as mentioned in Genesis 2:18, signifies proprium, or what is one's own. However, whereas the...

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

Resources for parents and teachers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

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

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

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

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

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #513

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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513. Verse 9. And there died the third part of the creatures in the sea having souls, signifies that in consequence every living knowledge [scientificum] in the natural man perished. This is evident from the signification of "dying," as being to perish spiritually, that is, in respect to the life of heaven; also from the signification of the "third part," as being all (see above, n. 506; also from the signification of the "creatures in the sea" (or fishes), as being knowledges [scientifica] (of which presently); also from the signification of "having souls," as being to be alive; consequently "there died the third part of the creatures in the sea having souls" signifies that in consequence every living knowledge perished. A living knowledge means a knowledge that derives life from spiritual affection; for that affection gives life to truths, and thus gives life to knowledges, for knowledges are containants of spiritual truths (see above, n. 506, 507, 511).

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


[2] "The creatures of the sea" (or fishes) signify knowledges, because the "sea" signifies the natural man, and thus "fishes in the sea" signify the knowledges themselves that are in the natural man. This signification of "fishes" also is from correspondence, for the spirits that are not in spiritual truths, but only in natural truths, which are knowledges, appear in the spiritual world in seas, and when viewed by those who are above, as fishes; for the thoughts that spring from the knowledges with such present that appearance. For all the ideas of the thought of angels and spirits are turned into various representatives outside of them; when turned into such things as are of the vegetable kingdom they are turned into trees and shrubs of various kinds; and when into such things as are of the animal kingdom they are turned into land animals and flying things of various kinds; when the ideas of the angels of heaven are turned into land animals they are turned into lambs, sheep, goats, bullocks, horses, mules, and other like animals; but when into flying things they are turned into turtle doves, pigeons, and various kinds of beautiful birds. But the ideas of thought of those who are natural and who think from mere knowledges are turned into the forms of fishes. Consequently in the seas various kinds of fishes appear, and this it has often been granted me to see.

[3] It is from this that in the Word "fishes" signify knowledges, as in the following passages. In Isaiah:

At My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers into a wilderness; their fish shall rot because there is no water, and shall die of thirst (Isaiah 50:2).

"The rebuke of Jehovah" means the ruin of the church, which takes place when there is no knowledge of truth and good, that is, no living knowledge, because there is no perception; "dry up the sea" signifies to deprive the natural man of true knowledges [scientifica], and thus of natural life from the spiritual; "to make the rivers into a wilderness" signifies a similar deprivation in the rational man whence there is no intelligence; "their fish shall rot because there is no water, and shall die of thirst," signifies that there is no longer any living knowledge [scientificum], because there is no truth, "fish" meaning knowledge, "water" truth, and "to rot" meaning to perish in respect to spiritual life.

[4] The like that is here said of the sea, that "a third part of it became blood, and thence the third part of the creatures in it died," is said also of Egypt, that its river and all its waters became blood, and consequently the fish died, in Moses:

Moses said to Pharaoh that the waters of the river should be turned into blood, and that consequently the fish should die, and the river should stink, and that the Egyptians would loathe to drink the waters of the river; and this was also done in respect to all the water in Egypt (Exodus 7:17-25).

It is said of this in David:

He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish (Psalms 105:29).

The like was done in Egypt, because "Egypt" signifies the natural man in respect to its knowledge [scientificum], or the knowledge belonging to the natural man; "the river of Egypt" signifies intelligence acquired by means of knowledges; "the river becoming blood" signifies intelligence from mere falsities; "the fish dying" signifies that true knowledges were destroyed by falsities, for knowledges live by truths but are destroyed by falsities, for the reason that all spiritual truth is living, and from it is all the life, or as it were the soul, in the knowledges; therefore without spiritual truth knowledge is dead.

[5] In Ezekiel:

I am against thee, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great whale that lieth in the midst of his rivers, that hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made myself. Therefore I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, that all the fish of thy rivers may stick unto thy scales. And I will abandon thee in the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers (2 Ezekiel 29:3-5).

"Pharaoh" has a similar signification as "Egypt," for the king and the people have a similar signification, namely, the natural man and knowledge therein; therefore he is called "a great whale;" "whale (or sea-monster)" signifying knowledge in general; therefore it is said that "he shall be drawn out of the river," and that then "the fish shall stick to his scales," which signifies that all intelligence is to perish, and that knowledge (scientia) which will take its place will be in the sensual man without life. In the sensual man, which is the lowest natural, standing out nearest to the world, there are fallacies and falsities therefrom, and this is signified by "the fish sticking to the scales" of the whale. That the natural man and the knowledge therein will be without life from any intelligence is signified by "I will abandon thee in the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers." That such things would come to pass because the natural man attributes all intelligence to itself, is signified by "that hath said, My river is mine own, I have made myself," "river" meaning intelligence.

[6] In Moses:

The sons of Israel said in the wilderness, We remember the fish that we did eat in Egypt freely, and the cucumbers and the melons, and the leeks and the onions and the garlic; now our soul is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes. Afterwards there went forth a wind from Jehovah, and snatched quails from the sea, and let them fall over the camp. But because of this lust Jehovah smote the people with a very great plague; consequently the name of that place was called the Graves of Lust (Numbers 11:5, 6, 31, 33, 34).

This signified that the sons of Israel were averse from things spiritual and hungered after natural things; indeed, they were not spiritual but merely natural, only representing a spiritual church by external things. That they were averse from spiritual things is signified by "our soul is dried up, there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes," "manna" signifying spiritual food, which is knowledge (scientia), intelligence, and wisdom. That they hungered after natural things is signified by "their lusting after the fish in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic," all which signify such things as belong to the lowest natural, that is, the sensual-corporeal man; and because they rejected things spiritual, and coveted merely natural things instead, "they were smitten with a great plague, and the name given to the place was the Graves of Lust."

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


[7] In Ezekiel:

He said to me, These waters go forth toward the eastern boundary, and go down into the plain and come towards the sea, being sent forth into the sea that the waters may be healed; whence it comes to pass that every living soul that creeps, whithersoever the brooks come, shall live; whence there is exceeding much fish. Therefore it shall come to pass that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; with the spreading of nets are they there; their fish shall be according to their kind, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places and the marshes thereof which are not healed shall be given to salt (Ezekiel 47:8-11).

This treats of the house of God, which signifies heaven and the church; and "the waters that go forth out of the house of God towards the east" signify Divine truth reforming and regenerating; the "plain" and the "sea" into which the waters go down, signify the ultimate things of heaven and the church, which with the men of the church are the things that belong to the natural and sensual man, the "plain" signifying the interior things thereof, and the "sea" the exterior things thereof; that both cognitions from the Word and confirming knowledges receive spiritual life through this Divine truth is signified by "the waters of the sea are healed thereby," and by "every soul that creepeth shall live," and by "there shall be exceeding much fish;" that there are in consequence true and living knowledges of every kind is signified by "their fish shall be according to their kind, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many." Those who are reformed, and thence become intelligent, are meant by "the fishers from En-gedi even to En-eglaim." Those who cannot be reformed because they are in the falsities of evil are signified by "the miry places and marshes that are not healed, but are given to salt." Everyone can see that this does not mean that fishes are multiplied by the waters going forth out of the house of God, but that "fishes" mean such things in man as can be reformed, since "the house of God" means heaven and the church, and the "waters going forth therefrom" mean Divine truth reforming.

(References: Ezekiel 47:1)


[8] In the Word here and there mention is made of "the beast of the earth," "the fowl of heaven," and "the fish of the sea," and he who does not know that the "beast of the earth" (or of the field) means man's voluntary faculty, "the fowl of heaven" his intellectual faculty, and "the fish of the sea" his knowing faculty, cannot know at all the meaning of these passages, as in the following. In Hosea:

Jehovah hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. Therefore the land shall mourn, and everyone that dwelleth therein shall languish, among the beasts of the field, and among the fowl of the heavens; and also the fishes of the sea shall be gathered up (Hosea 4:1, 3).

In Zephaniah:

I will consume man and beast, I will consume the fowl of the heavens, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling blocks with the wicked (Zephaniah 1:3).

In Ezekiel:

In the day that Gog shall come upon the land of Israel, there shall be a great earthquake over the land of Israel, and the fishes of the sea, and the fowl of the heavens, and the beast of the field, shall quake before Me (Ezekiel 38:18-20).

In Job:

Ask the beasts and they shall teach thee, or the fowl of heaven and they shall tell thee, or the shrub of the earth and it shall teach thee, and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who doth not know by all these things that the hand of Jehovah doeth this? (Job 12:7-9).

In these passages "the beast of the field" means man's voluntary faculty, "the fowl of heaven" his intellectual faculty, and "the fish of the sea" his knowing faculty; otherwise how could it be said "the beasts shall teach thee, the fowl of heaven shall tell thee, and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee, that the hand of Jehovah doeth this"? Also it is said, "Who doth not know by all these things?"

(References: Acts of the Apostles 12:7-9)


[9] Likewise in David:

Thou madest him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet, the flock and all herds, the beasts of the fields, the fowl of heaven, and the fish of the sea, whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas (Psalms 8:6-8).

This is said of the Lord and His dominion. That He has dominion over angels in the heavens and over men on the earth is known from the Word, for He says that unto Him "all power in heaven and in earth has been given" (Matthew 28:18); but that dominion was given to Him over animals, fowl, and fishes, is not a matter of sufficient importance to be mentioned in the Word, where each and every thing has reference to heaven and the church. It is therefore evident that "flock and herds, the beasts of the fields, the fowl of heaven, and the fish of the sea," mean such things as belong to heaven with angels and to the church with man, "the flock and the herds" signifying, in general, things spiritual and natural, the "flock" things spiritual, and "herds" things natural that are with man, or that belong to the spiritual mind and to the natural mind with him. "The beasts of the fields" signify things voluntary, which belong to the affections; "the fowl of heaven" signify things intellectual, which belong to the thoughts; and "the fishes of the sea" signify knowledges (scientifica) which belong to the natural man.

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

And God said, We will make man in Our image, after Our likeness; that he may have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of heaven, and over every animal that creepeth upon the earth (verses 26, 28).

This chapter treats in the internal spiritual sense of the establishment of the Most Ancient Church, thus of the new creation or regeneration of the men of that church. That it was given to them to perceive all things of their affection which belong to the will, and to see all things of their thought which belong to the understanding, and to so rule over them as not to wander away into the lusts of evil and into falsities, is meant by "that he may have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowl of heaven, and every animal of the earth;" and man has dominion over these things when the Lord has dominion over man, for man of himself does not have dominion over anything in himself. "The fish of the sea, the fowl of heaven, and the beast of the field," have this signification because of their correspondence. The correspondences of the interior things of man with these things stand forth so as to be clearly seen in the spiritual world; for there beasts of every kind, and birds, and fishes in the seas, are seen, which nevertheless are nothing else than the ideas of thought that flow forth from affections, and these are presented under such forms because they are correspondences.

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


[11] Because "fishes" signify the knowledges and cognitions belonging to the natural man that serve the spiritual man as means for becoming wise, so "fishers" mean in the Word those who are merely in knowledges, also those who are acquiring knowledges for themselves, also those who teach others and by means of knowledges reform them. The works of such are meant by "the casting and spreading of nets," as in the following passages. In Isaiah:

The fishers shall moan, and all they that cast the hook into the river shall mourn, and they that spread the net upon the faces of the waters shall languish (Isaiah 19:8).

"The fishers that cast the hook into the river and they that spread the net" mean those who wish to acquire for themselves knowledges and through these intelligence, here that they are unable to do this because there are no knowledges of truth anywhere.

[12] In Jeremiah:

I will bring back the sons of Israel again upon their land; I will send to many fishers who shall fish them; then I will send to many hunters, who shall hunt them from upon every mountain and from upon every hill, and out of the clefts of the cliffs (Jeremiah 16:15, 16).

"To send to fishers who shall fish them, and to hunters who shall hunt them," means to call together and establish the church with those who are in natural good and in spiritual good, as may be seen above n. 405.

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


[13] In Habakkuk:

Wherefore dost Thou make man as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping thing that hath no ruler? Let him draw up all with the hook, and gather him into his net. Shall he therefore empty his net, and not pity to slay the nations continually? (Mark 1:14, 15, 17).

This was said of the Chaldean nation wasting and destroying the church; and the Chaldean nation signifies the profanation of truth, and the vastation of the church. "To make men as the fishes of the sea, and as the creeping thing that hath no ruler," signifies to make man so natural that his knowledges (scientifica) are devoid of spiritual truth, and his delights are devoid of spiritual good; for in the natural man there are knowledges by which come thoughts, and delights by which come affections; and if the spiritual is not dominant over these, both thoughts and affections are wandering, and thus man is destitute of the intelligence that should lead and rule. That then every falsity and every evil has power to draw them over to their side, and thus wholly destroy them, is signified by "Let him draw out all with the hook, and gather into his net, and afterwards slay," "to draw out" meaning out of truth and good, "into his net" meaning into falsity and evil, and "to slay" meaning to destroy.

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


[14] In Amos:

The days will come in which they shall draw you out with hooks, and your posterity with fish hooks (Amos 4:2).

This signifies leading away and alienating from truths by means of acute reasonings from falsities and fallacies; it is said of those who abound in knowledges because they have the Word and the prophets; such are here meant by "the kine of Bashan in the mountain of Samaria."

[15] From this the meaning of "fishermen," "fishes" and "nets," so often mentioned in the New Testament, can be seen, as in the following passages:

Jesus saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. And He said unto them, Come ye after Me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:18, 19: Mark 1:16, 17).

Jesus entered into Simon's boat and was teaching the multitude. After that He told Simon to let out his nets for a draught, and they inclosed a great multitude of fishes, so that the boats were filled, and in danger of sinking. And amazement seized them all, because of the draught of fishes; and He said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men (Luke 5:3-10).

In this also there is a spiritual sense, like that in the rest of the Word; the Lord's choosing these fishermen and saying that "they should become fishers of men," signified that they should gather to the church; "the nets which they let out, and in which they inclosed a great multitude of fishes, so that the ships were in danger of sinking," signified the reformation of the church through them, for "fishes" here signify the knowledges of truth and good by means of which reformation is effected, likewise the multitude of men who are to be reformed.

(References: Mark 1:16-17, 1:18; Matthew 4:18-19)


[16] The draught of fishes by the disciples after the Lord's resurrection has a like signification; it is thus described in John:

When Jesus manifested Himself to the disciples, who were fishing, He told them to cast the net on the right side of the boat. And they took so many that they were not able to draw the net for the multitude of fishes. When they descended upon the land they saw a fire built, and a little fish lying thereon, and bread. And Jesus gave them the bread, and the little fish likewise (John 21:2-13).

The Lord manifested Himself while they were fishing, because "to fish" signified to teach the knowledges of truth and good, and thus to reform. His commanding them "to cast the net on the right side of the boat" signified that all things should be from the good of love and charity, "the right side" signifying that good from which all things should come, for so far as knowledges are derived from good, so far they live and are multiplied. They said that "they had labored all the night and had taken nothing," which signified that from self or from one's own (proprium) nothing comes, but that all things are from the Lord; and the like was signified by the "fire" on which was the little fish, and by the "bread;" for the "bread" signified the Lord and the good of love from Him, and "the fish on the fire" the knowledge of truth from good, the "fish" the knowledge of truth, and the "fire" good. At that time there were no spiritual men, because the church was wholly vastated, but all were natural, and their reformation was represented by this fishing, and also by the fish on the fire. He who believes that the fish on the fire and the bread that were given to the disciples to eat were not significative of something higher is very much mistaken, for the least things done by the Lord and said by Him were significative of Divine celestial things, which become evident only through the spiritual sense. That this "fire of coals" and "fire" mean the good of love, and that "bread" means the Lord in relation to that good, has been shown above; and that a "fish" means the knowledge of truth and the knowing faculty of the natural man is clear from what has been said and shown in this article.

[17] It is also said by the Lord that:

The kingdom of the heavens is like unto a net cast into the sea bringing together every kind of fish, which when it was full they drew upon the beach, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be in the consummation of the age (Matthew 13:47-49).

The separation of the good and the evil is here likened to "a net cast into the sea bringing together every kind of fish," for the reason that "fishes" signify natural men in respect to knowledges and cognitions, and in "the consummation of the age," or at the time of the Last Judgment, such are separated from one another; for there are good natural men and bad natural men; and the separation of these in the spiritual world has the appearance of a net or drag-net cast into the sea, bringing together the fish, and drawing them to the shore, and this appearance is also from correspondence. This is why the Lord likens the kingdom of the heavens to "a net bringing together the fish." That the separation of the good from the evil presents this appearance it has been granted me to see.

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

Those who received the half-shekel came. Jesus said to Simon, The kings of the earth, from whom do they receive tribute or toll? from their sons or from strangers? Peter said unto Him, From strangers. Jesus said unto him, Therefore are the sons free. But lest we cause them to stumble, go thou to the sea and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up, and open its mouth and thou shalt find a shekel; that take and give unto them for Me and thee (Matthew 17:24-27).

"To pay tribute and toll," signified to be subject and to serve, therefore tribute was imposed on strangers, who were not of the sons of Israel, as is evident from the histories of the Word. "The sons of Israel," with whom was the church, signified the spiritual, and "strangers" the natural; and what is natural is subject to what is spiritual and serves it, for the spiritual man is like a lord, and the natural man like a servant; and as the natural are servants, and are therefore meant by those who pay tribute, so it was brought about that neither the Lord nor Peter, but the "fish," which signified the natural man, should furnish the tribute.

[19] The Lord's glorification of His Human, even to its ultimate, which is called natural and sensual, is signified by the following:

Jesus, having appeared to the disciples, said, See My hands and My feet, that it is I myself; feel of Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye behold Me having. And He showed them the hands and feet. And He said unto them, Have ye here anything to eat? They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb. And He took it and did eat before them (Luke 24:38-43).

That the Lord glorified His Human even to its ultimate, which is called the natural and sensual, He made manifest by showing the hands and feet, and by the disciples feeling them, and by His saying that "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as He had;" and by His eating of the broiled fish and honeycomb. "Hands and feet" signify the ultimates of man, likewise "flesh and bones;" and "broiled fish" signifies the natural in respect to truth from good, and "honey" the natural in respect to the good from which is truth. Because these corresponded to the natural man, and thence signified it, they were eaten in the presence of the disciples; for a "fish," as has been shown in this article, signifies from correspondence the natural in respect to knowing [scientificum]; wherefore also "a fish" signifies in the Word knowledge and the knowing faculty [scientificum et cognitivum] which belong to the natural man, and a "broiled fish" signifies knowledge that is from natural good; but with the Lord it signifies the Divine natural in respect to truth from good (that "honey" signifies natural good may be seen in Arcana Coelestia, n (Arcana Coelestia 5620). 5 620, 6857, 10137, 10530). One who does not know that in each particular of the Word there is a spiritual sense, and that the sense of the letter, which is the natural sense, consists of correspondences with things spiritual, cannot know this arcanum, namely, why the Lord ate of the broiled fish and honeycomb in the presence of His disciples, nor why, as here, He gave broiled fish and bread to His disciples; and yet each and every thing that the Lord said and did was Divine, and these Divine things lie hidden in each thing written in the Word.

[20] From this the signification of "there died the third part of the creatures in the sea having souls" can now be seen, namely, that every living knowledge in the natural man perished; or, what is the same, that the natural man in respect to knowledges therein died. The natural man is said to be dead when it is not made alive from the spiritual man, that is, by influx out of heaven from the Lord through the spiritual man, for the Lord flows in through the spiritual man into the natural. When, therefore, no truth of heaven is any longer acknowledged, and no good of heaven affects man, the spiritual mind, which is called the spiritual man, is closed up, and the natural mind receives mere falsities from evil, and falsities from evil are spiritually dead, since truths from good are what are spiritually alive.

[21] It is said "the third part of the creatures," because "creatures" and "animals" signified in the Word the affections and thoughts therefrom in man; consequently they mean men themselves in respect to affections and thoughts. Such is the signification of "creatures" in Mark:

Jesus said to the disciples, Going into all the world, preach ye the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).

Also above in Revelation:

And every creature that is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and those that are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the strength, unto the ages of the ages (Revelation 5:13).

It is evident that here "every creature" means both angels and men, for it is said that "he heard them saying." (See above, n. 342-346, where this is explained.)

(References: Ezekiel 47:1; Matthew 4:18-19; The Apocalypse Explained 342-346)

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Apocalypse Explained 508, 514, 518, 817

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


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