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 #555

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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555. Verse 8. And they had hair as the hair of women, signifies that they seem to themselves to be also natural affections of truth. This is evident from the signification of "hair," as being the things of the natural man, and in particular the true knowledges [scientifica] there (of which above, n. 66); and from the signification of "women," as being affections (of which presently). "Hair" signifies the things of the natural man because the "head" signifies the things of the spiritual man, and all things of the natural man invest all things of the spiritual man, as the hair invests the head; the head also corresponds to things spiritual, and the hair to things natural, thence also that is what they signify. It is from this correspondence that angels are seen with beautiful hair, and from the orderly arrangement, grace, and gloss of their locks it may be known how the natural man in them corresponds with the spiritual. Now as "women" signify affections, it can be seen that "they had hair as the hair of women" signifies that they seem to themselves to be natural affections of truth. That this is what is signified is evident also from the series; for "faces as men's faces" signify the appearance as if they were spiritual affections of truth; thence now it follows that "hair as the hair of women" signifies there seeming to be natural affection of truth; it is said immediately, too, of their teeth, that they were "as lion's teeth," and these signify the ultimates of the natural man in respect to knowledge and power. In the prophetic Word the terms "woman," and also "daughter" and "virgin" often occur; but it has heretofore been unknown what they signify. It is very evident that a woman, a daughter, or a virgin is not meant, since where these are mentioned the church is treated of; but what they signify can be seen from the connection of the subjects treated of in the spiritual sense.

(References: Revelation 9:8; The Apocalypse Explained 66)


[2] That "woman" signifies the church as regards the affection of truth, thus the affection of the truth of the church, can be seen from the following passages in the Word. In Jeremiah:

Wherefore commit ye evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, babe, and suckling, out of Jerusalem? 1 (4 Jeremiah 44:7).

In the same:

I will scatter man and woman; I will scatter the old man and the lad; I will scatter the young man and the virgin (Jeremiah 51:22).

In Ezekiel:

Slay to destruction the old man and the young man and the virgin and the infant and the women (Ezekiel 9:6).

In Lamentations:

They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah; princes were hanged up by their hand; the faces of elders were not honored (Lamentations 5:11, 12).

In these passages "man and woman," "old man and babe," "youth and virgin," do not mean man, woman, old man, babe, youth, and virgin, but all things of the church; "man and woman" signify truth and its affection, "old man and babe" wisdom and innocence, "youth and virgin" the understanding of truth and the affection for good. That such is the signification is made evident from this that these chapters treat of the church and its desolation in respect to truth and good; therefore these terms signify such things as belong to the church. For the Word is inwardly spiritual, because it is Divine; but if man and woman, old man and babe, youth and virgin meant such persons, the Word would not be spiritual but natural; but it becomes spiritual when "man and woman" mean the church in respect to truth and its affection, "old man and babe" the church in respect to wisdom and innocence, and "young man and virgin" the church in respect to intelligence and its affection. Moreover, man is man because the church is in him, and where the church is, there is heaven. When, therefore, man as "old," "young," an "infant," a "male," also "woman" and "virgin" are mentioned, that with them pertaining to the church that corresponds in age, sex, inclination, affection, intelligence, and wisdom, is meant.

(References: Lamentations 5:11-12)


[3] That "woman" signifies the church in respect to the affection of truth, or the affection of the truth of the church, can be seen also from these words in Isaiah:

Then seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, We will eat our own bread, and we will clothe ourselves with our own raiment; only let thy name be called upon us; gather thou up our reproach (Isaiah 4:1).

This treats of the end of the church, when there is no longer any truth, for these words precede:

Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy strength in the war (Isaiah 3:25);

which signify that the understanding of truth will be destroyed by falsities, so that there will be no more resistance in combats; and it is added:

In that day shall the shoot of Jehovah be for splendor and glory (Isaiah 4:2);

which signifies that truth will spring up anew in the church; for this is said of the Lord's coming. "Seven women shall take hold of one man" signifies that truth will be desired and sought from affection but will not be found; "man" signifying truth, "women" affections or longings for truth, and "seven" holiness. That instruction in genuine truths, and thus spiritual nourishment would not be found, is signified by saying "we will eat our own bread, and we will clothe ourselves with our own raiment;" "bread" signifying instruction and spiritual nourishment, and "raiment" truth clothing good; that truth only can be applied and by application conjoined is signified by "only let thy name be called upon us;" and as all esteem is from the spiritual affection of truth and conjunction therefrom, and otherwise there is no esteem, it is said, "gather thou up or take away our reproach."

[4] In Jeremiah:

Return, O virgin of Israel, return to thy cities. How long wilt thou go about? For Jehovah hath created a new thing in the earth; a woman shall compass a man (Jeremiah 31:21, 22).

This treats of the spiritual captivity in which the church was before the Lord's coming. The church is said to be in spiritual captivity when there is no truth, and yet truth is desired; in such captivity were the Gentiles with whom the church was established. "Return, O virgin of Israel, return to thy cities," signifies that they shall return to the truths of doctrine; "virgin of Israel" being the church, and "her cities" the truths of doctrine. "For Jehovah hath created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man," signifies that a new church is to be established in which truth will be conjoined to its affection; "to create a new thing in the earth" meaning to establish that new thing; "woman" being the church in respect to the affection of truth, "man" truth, and "to compass" to be conjoined.

(References: Jeremiah 31:21-22)


[5] In Isaiah:

As a woman forsaken and afflicted in spirit Jehovah hath called thee, and a woman of youth when rejected, said thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great compassions will I gather thee (Isaiah 54:6, 7).

Here, too, "a woman forsaken and afflicted in spirit" means the church that is not in truths and yet is in the affection or longing for them, "woman" meaning the church, which is said to be "forsaken" when it is not in truths, and to be "afflicted in spirit" when in grief from the affection or longing for truths. "A woman of youth" means the Ancient Church, which was in truths from affection; and "one rejected" means the Jewish church, which was not in truths from any spiritual affection; that the church is to be established by the Lord, and delivered from spiritual captivity, is meant by "for a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great compassions will I gather thee."

(References: Isaiah 54:6-7)


[6] In Jeremiah:

Hear the word of Jehovah, O ye women, and let your ear perceive the word of His mouth, that ye may teach your sons 2 wailing, and a woman her companion lamentation. For death hath come up through the windows, it hath come into our palaces, to cut off the babe from the street, the young man from the broad ways (Jeremiah 9:20, 21).

It was said to women that they should hear and perceive, because "women" signify the church from the affection and reception of truth; "sons whom the women should teach wailing," and the "companion whom a woman should teach lamentation," signify all who are of the church, "sons" signifying those who are in the truths of the church, "companion" they who are in the good of the church; "wailing and lamentation" signify because of the church vastated in respect to truths and goods; "death hath come up through the windows, it hath come into our palaces" signifies infernal falsity entering into the understanding, and thence into all things of thought and affection, "windows" signifying the understanding, and "palaces" all things of the thought and affection; "to cut off the babe from the street, and the young man from the broad ways," signifies the vastation of nascent truth and of truth born; the "babe in the street" meaning nascent truth, and "the young man in the broad ways" truth born.

(References: Jeremiah 9:20-21)


[7] In Ezekiel:

Two women, the daughters of one mother, who committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth; the name of the elder was Oholah, and the name of her sister Oholibah; and they bare sons and daughter. Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem Oholibah (Ezekiel 23:2-4).

As "Samaria," the metropolis of the Israelites, signifies in the Word the spiritual church, and "Jerusalem," the metropolis of the Jews, the celestial church, each in respect to doctrine; so these are called "women;" and as these two churches act as one, they are called "daughters of one mother," "mother" also signifying the church, as do "Oholah and Oholibah," that is, "the tent or habitation of God," for this signifies heaven where Divine truth and Divine good are, and so, too, the church, for the church is the Lord's heaven on earth; "their committing whoredom in Egypt in their youth" signifies that they were then in no truths but in falsities, for in Egypt they had not the Word; that was given to them afterwards through Moses and the prophets, and it was thus that the church was instituted among them. "To commit whoredom in Egypt" signifies to falsify truths by knowledges of the natural man, and to falsify truths there means to turn holy things into magic, as the Egyptians did; "the sons and daughters whom they bore" signify the falsities and evils of the church.

[8] In Micah:

Ye draw off the robe from them that pass by securely, returning from war. The women of my people ye drive out from the house of their delights (Micah 2:8, 9).

"To draw off the robe from them that pass by securely, returning from war," signifies to deprive of truths all who are in truths, and who have fought against falsities; "who pass by securely" signifies all who are in truths; "returning from war" those who have been in temptations, and who have fought against falsities. "To drive out the women of my people from the house of their delights" signifies to destroy the affections of truth, and thus the pleasantnesses and felicities of heaven, "the women of my people" meaning the affections of truth, and "house of delights" the pleasantnesses and felicities of heaven, for these are the affections of good and truth.

(References: Micah 2:8-9)


[9] In Zechariah:

I will gather all nations to Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be captured and the house 3 plundered, and the women shall be ravished (Zechariah 14:2).

"All nations" signify evils and falsities of every kind; "Jerusalem" signifies the church, "city" doctrine, "house" everything holy of the church, "women" the affections of truth, and "their being ravished" that truths will be perverted, and that thus the affections of truth will perish.

[10] In the same:

In that day shall the lamentation in Jerusalem increase, and the land shall lament and every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their women apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their women apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their women apart; the family of the house of Simeon apart, and their women apart; all the families that are left, every family apart, and their women apart (Zechariah 12:11-14).

What "David" and his house, likewise what "Levi," and "Simeon," and their houses signify, has been shown in the explanations above, namely, that "David" signifies Divine truth, "Nathan" the doctrine of truth, "Levi" the good of charity, and "Simeon" truth and good in respect to perception and obedience. It is said "the families shall lament apart, and their women apart," because "families" signify the truths of the church, and "women" the affections of truth; and these "lament apart" when truth laments because there is no affection of it, and affection laments because it has no truth. This is said of the lamentation over each and all things of the church because they are vastated and destroyed; for each and all things of the church are signified by "all the families that are left," which mean the tribes. That "the twelve tribes" signify all things of the church in the complex may be seen above (n. 430, 431). "Jerusalem" signifies the church and its doctrine.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 430, 431)


[11] In Matthew:

Then shall two be in the field, one shall be taken and the other left. Two shall be grinding at the mill, one shall be taken and the other left (Matthew 24:40, 41).

By the first two are meant men, and women by the last two; and "men" signify those who are in truths, and "women" those who are in good from the affection of truth; here, however, "men" mean those who are in falsities, and "women" those who are in evils from the affection of falsity, for it is said that "one shall be taken and the other shall be left;" meaning that those shall be saved who are in truths from affection, and those shall be condemned who are in evils from affection. "Field" signifies the church; "to grind" signifies to acquire for themselves truths of doctrine from the Word; those who apply these truths to good are signified by those who "shall be taken," and those who apply them to evil are signified by those who "shall be left." (But this may be seen explained in the Arcana Coelestia 4334, 4335.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4334-4335; Matthew 24:40-41)


[12] In Moses:

I will break for you the staff of bread, that ten women may bake your bread in one oven, and they shall bring back your bread by weight; and ye shall eat and not be satisfied (Leviticus 26:26).

This means, in the spiritual sense, that truth from good, which is spiritual nourishment, shall fail, "bread" signifying all spiritual food by which the man of the church is nourished, and "women" those of the church who are in the affection of truth. "Ten women shall bake bread in one oven" signifies that the truth which may be conjoined to good will be sought for but very little will be found; for "to bake" signifies to prepare and conjoin that it may serve for the use of life; "to bring back the bread by weight" signifies that it is scarce; and "to eat and not be satisfied" signifies because truth from good is so scanty and scarce as to yield hardly any nourishment to the soul.

[13] In Moses:

A man's garment shall not be upon a woman, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto Jehovah thy God (Deuteronomy 22:6).

"Man and his garment" signifies truth, and "woman and her garment" signifies the affection of truth. These in every man are as distinct as understanding and will are, or as thought which is of the understanding, and affection which is of the will are; and unless they were distinct, the sexes would be confounded, and there would be no marriage, for in marriage man is the truth which is of the thought, and woman is affection.

That man and woman were both so created that they may be two and yet one, is evident from the book of Genesis in which it is said of the creation of the two:

And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; 4 male and female created He them (Genesis 1:27; 5:2).

(References: Deuteronomy 22:5)


[14] And afterwards:

The man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; for this she shall be called wife, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:23, 24; Mark 10:6-9).

Man here means the church in general and in particular. The church in particular is the man of the church, or the man in whom the church is. "God created man in His own image" signifies in the image of heaven; for "God," that is, Elohim, in the plural, signifies the Divine proceeding that makes heaven, and the man who is a church is a heaven in the least form, for he corresponds to all things of heaven (see in the work on Heaven and Hell 7-12, 51-58). "Male" signifies here, as above, the truth which is of the understanding, and "female" the good which is of the will; the wife is said to be "bone of man's bones, and flesh of his flesh," to signify that good, which is the wife, is from truth, which is the man, "bone" signifying truth before it is vivified, that is, conjoined to good, such as is the truth of the memory with man; and because all good is formed from truths it is said, "because she was taken out of man. " That "the man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife" signifies that truth must be of good, and that thus both must become one good; this is signified by "they shall be one flesh," "flesh" signifying good, and also a human being. But the things here said cannot enter the understanding of man, except with few, unless it is known that the first two chapters of Genesis treat of the new creation, that is, of the regeneration of the men of the church, the first chapter of their regeneration, the second of their intelligence and wisdom; and "male and female," or "man and wife," mean in the spiritual sense the conjunction of truth and good, which is called the heavenly marriage, into which marriage man comes when he is regenerated and becomes a church; and man has been regenerated and has become a church when he is in good and in truths therefrom, which is meant by "the man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be as one flesh." (But a still clearer idea of these things may be had from what is said in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, On Good and Truth, n. 11-19; On the Will and Understanding, n. 28-33; On Regeneration, n 173-182; also respecting the good from which are truths, n. 24.)

(References: Genesis 1:1, 2:1, 2:23-24)


[15] Because "man and woman" signify the conjunction of truth and good:

When Moses saw that the sons of Israel took to themselves the female captives of the Midianites, their enemies, he said that they should kill every woman that had known man by lying with a male; but that they should keep alive the women that had not known man (Numbers 31:17, 18).

These things were commanded because a "woman not conjoined to a man" signified the church in respect to the affection for truth or for conjunction with truth; but "a woman conjoined to a man of Midian" signified good adulterated; for the Midianites represented, and thence signified, truth that is not truth because it is not from good, thus is falsity. This was why the women who had known man were to be killed, but those who had not known man were to be kept alive. "The women of Midian" signified the defilement of good by falsities, and thus good adulterated and profaned, which is filthy adultery, as is evident from what is related respecting "the whoredom of the sons of Israel with the women of the Midianites" (Numbers 25:1).

(References: Numbers 31:16-18, 31:17-18)


[16] Whoever does not know that "woman" signifies the spiritual affection of truth, also that the evils and falsities that everyone has are in the natural man, and none of them in the spiritual man, cannot know what is signified by the following respecting a woman captive in Moses:

If thou shalt see in captivity a woman beautiful in form of the enemy, and hast a desire unto her for a wife, thou shalt bring her into the midst of thy house; where she shall shave her head and pare her nails; then she shall put away the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall weep for her father and her mother a month of days, and after that thou shalt go in unto her and know her, and she shall be thy wife (Deuteronomy 21:11-13).

A "woman" signifies the church in respect to the spiritual affection of truth, or the spiritual affection of truth which a man of the church has, but "a woman captive beautiful in form" signifies the religious principles with the Gentiles in whom is a longing or affection for truth; that "she is to be brought into the midst of the house, and there is to shave her head, pare her nails, and afterwards put away the raiment of her captivity" signifies that she should be led into the interior or spiritual things of the church, and by means of them reject the evils and falsities of the natural and sensual man; "the midst of the house" signifies things interior which are spiritual; "the hair of the head which must be shaved" signifies the falsities and evils of the natural man; "the nails which must be pared," signify the falsities and evils of the sensual man; and "the raiment of captivity" signifies the falsity of religion in which one who from affection longs for truth is held as it were captive; all these, therefore, must be rejected because they are in the natural and sensual man, as has been said above; that she shall "weep for her father and her mother a month of days" signifies that the evils and falsities of one's religion must be consigned to oblivion; "after that the man should go in unto her and know her, and she should be his wife," signifies that thus truth, which is the "man," can be conjoined with its affection, which is the "wife." Why this statute was given no one can know unless he knows from the spiritual sense what is signified by "a woman taken captive from the enemy," by "the midst or inmost of the house," by "hair," "nails," and "the raiment of captivity," and unless he knows something about the conjunction of truth and good, for on this conjunction all the precepts in the Word concerning marriages are founded. The church in respect to the affection of truth is signified also by:

The woman encompassed with the sun, and in labor, before whom the dragon stood when she should bring forth a man child; and who afterwards fled into the wilderness (Revelation 12:1, et seq.).

Here the "woman" signifies the church, and the "man child" whom she brought forth, the doctrine of truth, as will be seen in the explanation further on.

(References: Revelation 12:1-17, 12)


[17] As "woman" signifies the church in respect to the affection of truth from good, or the affection of truth from good of the man of the church, so in the contrary sense a "woman" signifies the cupidity of falsity from evil; for most things in the Word have also an opposite signification. A "woman" (and women) signify this in the following passages. In Jeremiah:

Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The sons gather wood and the fathers kindle the fire and the women knead the dough, to make cakes to the queen of the heavens, and also to pour out libations unto other gods (Jeremiah 7:17, 18)

What this prophecy involves cannot be known unless it is known what "the cities of Judah," "the streets of Jerusalem," what the "sons," "fathers," and "women" signify, also what "gathering wood," "kindling a fire," "kneading the dough," "cakes," "the queen of the heavens," and "libations" signify. But when it is known what these signify, and the signification is taken in place of the things named, there results therefrom the spiritual meaning that is involved in this prophecy. "The cities of Judah" signify the doctrinals of the church; "the streets of Jerusalem" the truths of these, but here falsities; "sons" mean those who are in the truths of doctrine, but here those who are in falsities, who are said "to gather wood" when they acquire for themselves falsities from evils; "fathers" mean those who are in the goods of the church, but here those who are in evils, who are said "to kindle a fire" when from the love of evil they favor and excite evils; "women" mean the affections of truth from good, but here the cupidities of falsity from evil; these are said "to knead the dough" when from falsities and according to them they frame doctrine; "to make cakes to the queen of the heavens" signifies to worship infernal evils of every kind, "to make cakes" meaning to worship from evils, and "the queen of the heavens" meaning all evils in the complex, for "the queen of the heavens" has a similar signification as "the host of the heavens;" "to pour out libations unto other gods" signifies to worship from falsities, "other gods" meaning infernal falsities; for "God" signifies, in a good sense, Divine truth proceeding, but "other gods" signify infernal falsities, which are falsities from evil.

(References: Jeremiah 7:17-18)


[18] In Isaiah:

As for My people, babes are their oppressors, and women rule over it. 5 O My people, thy leaders cause thee to err, and have blotted out the way of thy paths (Isaiah 3:12).

"Oppressors," "babes," and "women," signify those who violate, are ignorant of, and pervert truths, "oppressors" meaning those who violate truths; "babes" those who are ignorant of them, and "women" the cupidities that pervert them; "leaders that cause thee to err" signify those who teach; "to blot out the way of thy paths" signifies that the truth which leads is not known.

[19] In the same:

When the harvest withereth, breaking in pieces, the women coming shall set it on fire; for this is a people of no intelligence (Isaiah 27:11).

This is said of the church vastated; "the harvest withering" signifies the truths of good destroyed by evil loves; "the women who set it on fire" signify the cupidities of falsity which altogether consume.

[20] In the same:

Rise up, ye women that are at ease, hear my voice; ye confident sons 6 give ear to my speech; the vintage shall be consumed, the ingathering shall not come (Isaiah 32:9, 10).

"Women that are at ease" signify the cupidities of those who are wholly unconcerned about the vastation of the church; "the confident sons" signify the falsities of those who trust in self-intelligence; "women and sons" signify all in the church who are such, whether men or women; "the vintage that shall be consumed, and the ingathering that shall not come" signify that there shall no longer be any truth of the church, for "vintage" has a similar signification as "wine," namely, the truth of the church; and this makes evident what is signified by its "ingathering."

(References: Isaiah 32:9-10)


[21] In Ezekiel:

But if a man be just, and hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled the wife of his companion, neither come near to a menstruous woman (Ezekiel 18:5, 6).

"The just man" is described as one "who hath not eaten upon the mountains," which signifies whose worship is not from infernal loves, for this is the signification of "sacrificing upon mountains," and "eating of the sacrifices;" "who hath not lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel" signifies whose worship is not from the falsities of doctrine, for "idols" signify the falsities of doctrine, and "the house of Israel" means the perverted church in which such falsities are; "who hath not defiled the wife of his companion" signifies who does not adulterate the good of the church and of the Word; "who cometh not near to a menstruous woman" signifies who does not defile truths by the cupidities of falsity.

(References: Ezekiel 18:5-6)


[22] In Lamentations:

The hands of the compassionate women have sodden their own children that they might become food for them, in the breach of the daughter of My people (Lamentations 4:10).

This signifies the destruction by falsities of the truth and good of doctrine from the Word, and the appropriation of the falsities, with the consequent vastation of the church. "The compassionate women" signify the affections of falsity as if it were truth; "their having sodden children" signifies to destroy by falsities the truths and goods of doctrine from the Word; "to become food for them" signifies to appropriate falsities; and "the breach of the daughter of my people" signifies the vastation of the church. "Women" signify also evil cupidities in Revelation (Revelation 14:4; 17:3, of which in the explanation further on).

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Footnotes:

1.  Latin has "Jerusalem," the Hebrew "Judah," as we also find in AC 430, 3183, 5608.

2.  Latin has "sons," Hebrew "daughters."

3.  Latin has "house," Hebrew "houses."

4.  Latin has "them," Hebrew "him," which is also found in AE 725; AC 53; CL 132.

5.  Latin has "it," Hebrew "them."

6. Latin has "sons," Hebrew "daughters," as we find in AE 919; AC 6432.

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(References: Deuteronomy 22:5; Isaiah 4:1-2; Numbers 31:16-18; Revelation 12)

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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 542, 577, 652, 707, 821, 863, 918, 1038


Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.


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