The Bible

 

Genesis 1

English: King James Version      

Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 2 →

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.

Genesis 2 →

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

True Christian Religion 20, 34, 46, 48, 364, 490


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

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

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:




Hop to Similar Bible Verses

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

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

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

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

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

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

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

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Word/Phrase Explanations

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

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

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

heaven
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

Earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

form
A person who has yet to be regenerated is called 'a void and an empty earth', and also 'ground where no good or truth has...

Void
A 'void', or 'Vacuity' denotes a person's state before regeneration. From Arcana Coelestia 7: "The first state is the state which precedes, both the state...

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" is a state where truth is lacking.

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

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

spirit
There are two aspects to the life of each person. We might call them "heart" and "mind," a part of us that wants and feels...

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

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

waters
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

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

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

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

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

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

evening
Since the light and warmth of the sun represent the Lord’s wisdom and love, it makes sense that evening, a time when the light and...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

Firmament
The firmament, as in Genesis 1, signifies the internal man. The firmament of heaven is mutual love.

midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

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

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

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

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

Grass
Grass signifies the scientific principle. Just as green grass serves animals for support, scientific truth serves men for spiritual nourishment. ‘Grass’ is scientific truth, and...

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

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

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

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

after
According to Swedenborg, time and space don’t exist in spiritual reality; they are purely natural things that exist only on the physical plane. This means...

third
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

Third day
'The third day' signifies the end of a state of preparation for reception, and so an end of purification, as in Exodus 19:16. 'The third...

signs
The Bible often speaks of signs and miracles as things that convinced people of the Lord's leading. Swedenborg divides the two, identifying "signs" as things...

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

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.

stars
'The learned,' or 'wise,' who 'shall shine as the stars,' are people who are in good.

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

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

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

fowl
"Birds" mean rational concepts in the external man and intellectual concepts in the internal man.

Fly
To fly, when spoken of the Lord, signifies to foresee and to provide. To fly, when predicated of the Lord, also signifies omnipresence. To fly...

Open
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

Fruitful
To be fruitful is predicated of goodnesses, and to be multiplied, of truths.

multiply
'Spreading themselves on the earth,' as in Genesis 8:17, signifies the internal self operating on the external.

fill
There are two ways something can be filled: It can be filled with something bad against the wishes of its owner, or it can be...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

cattle
Animals in the Bible generally refer to spiritual activity, the things we actually do on a spiritual level. "Cattle," as typically used in the Bible,...

beast
"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

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

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

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

Image
'An image' signifies falsities from self-derived intelligence.

Fish
Fish signify sensual affections which are the ultimate affections of the natural man. Also, those who are in common truths, which are also ultimates of...

sea
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,...

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
Female signifies good.

Meat
'Meat,' as in Genesis 40:17, signifies celestial good, because 'the meat of the angels' are nothing but the goods of love and charity, which not...

green
The color green is almost exclusively used in connection with plants in the Bible (the exceptions include two stomach-turning references to moldy plagues in Leviticus),...

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

Resources for parents and teachers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

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

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

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

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

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #1066

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

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1066. That 'from them the whole earth was overspread' means that from these three all doctrines have been derived, both true and false, is clear from the meaning of 'the earth'. In the Word 'the earth' has various meanings. In the universal sense it stands for the place or region where the Church is or once was, for example, the land of Canaan, the land of Judah, the land of Israel. It thus stands in that universal sense for every member of the Church, for a land takes its name from the people who inhabit it, as is also well known from everyday speech. In ancient times therefore when people spoke of 'the whole earth' they did not mean every land throughout the world but only that part of the earth where the Church existed, and so the Church itself, as becomes clear from the following places in the Word: In Isaiah,

Jehovah is emptying the earth, the earth will be utterly emptied. The earth will mourn and be turned upside down. And the earth will be polluted under its inhabitants. Therefore a curse will devour the earth, therefore the inhabitants of the earth will be scorched and few men left. The floodgates from on high have been opened, and the foundations of the earth have been shaken. The earth has been utterly broken. The earth has been utterly rent asunder. The earth is violently shaken. The earth staggers altogether like a drunken man, and sways to and fro like a hut. Its transgression will lie heavily upon it, and it will fall, and it will not rise again. Isaiah 24:1, 3-6, 18-21.

'Earth' stands for the people inhabiting it, in particular the people of the Church, and so stands for the Church itself, and the things that are the Church's that have been vastated. These when being vastated are spoken of as 'being emptied', 'being shaken', 'staggering like a drunken man', 'swaying', 'falling and not rising'.

(References: Isaiah 24:1-6, Isaiah 24:18-20)


[2] That 'earth' or 'land' means man, and consequently the Church which is made up of men, is seen in Malachi,

All the nations will declare you blessed, for you will be a land of delight. Malachi 3:12.

That 'the earth' stands for the Church is seen in Isaiah,

Do you not understand the foundations of the earth? Isaiah 40:21.

Here 'foundations of the earth' stands for the foundations of the Church. In the same prophet,

Behold I am creating new heavens and a new earth. Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Revelation 21:1.

'New heavens and a new earth' stands for the Lord's kingdom and the Church. In Zechariah,

Jehovah is He who stretches out the heavens and founds the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. Zechariah 12:1.

'Earth' stands for the Church, as in earlier chapters,

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

The heavens and the earth were finished. Genesis 2:1.

These are the generations of heaven and earth. Genesis 2:4.

In each instance 'earth' stands for the Church being 'created', 'formed', and 'made'. In Joel,

The earth quaked before Him, the heavens trembled. The sun and the moon were darkened. Joel 2:10.

'Earth' stands for the Church, and for the things that are the Church's. When these things are being vastated, 'heaven and earth' are said to quake, 'the sun and moon' to grow dark, that is, love and faith.

[3] In Jeremiah,

I looked to the earth, when behold, that which is void and empty; and to the heavens, and they had no light. Jeremiah 4:23.

Here 'the earth' plainly stands for the person who does not have anything of the Church within him. In the same prophet,

The whole earth will be desolate, yet I will not bring it to a close. For this the earth will mourn and the heavens be black. Jeremiah 4:27, 18.

Here likewise the Church is meant, whose exterior things are 'the earth' and interior 'the heavens'. These are referred to as 'being black and having no light' when there is no longer any wisdom arising from good or intelligence from truth. In that case the earth is also 'void and empty', as is the member of the Church who ought to be an embodiment of the Church. That 'the whole earth' is also used in other places to mean the Church alone is seen in Daniel,

The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it in pieces. Daniel 7:23.

'The whole earth' stands for the Church and for the things that are the Church's; for the Word does not deal, as secular authors do, with the powers of monarchs, but with sacred matters, and with states of the Church, which are meant by 'kingdoms of the earth'.

(References: Jeremiah 4:27-28)


[4] In Jeremiah,

A great tempest will be raised up from the sides of the earth, and the slain 1 of Jehovah on that day will be from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth. Jeremiah 15:32, Jeremiah 15:33.

Here 'from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth' stands for the Church and for everything that is the Church's. In Isaiah,

The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they burst into cries of joy. Isaiah 14:7.

Here 'the whole earth' stands for the Church. In Ezekiel,

As the whole earth rejoices. Ezekiel 35:14.

Here too 'the whole earth' stands for the Church. In Isaiah,

I swore that the waters of Noah should go no more over the earth. Isaiah 54:9.

Here 'the earth' stands for the Church since the Church is the subject here. Because in the Word the earth means the Church it also means what is not the Church, for every such expression has a contrary or opposite sense. This applies, for example, to the various lands of the gentiles, in general to all lands outside the land of Canaan. 'Land' also stands therefore for the people and for the individual outside of the Church, and from this for the external man - for his will, for his proprium, and so on.

(References: Jeremiah 25:32-33)


[5] In the Word 'earth' rarely stands for the whole world except when it is used to mean the state of the whole human race, whether of the Church or not of the Church. And because the earth includes the ground, which also means the Church, and the ground includes the field, the expression 'earth', entailing many things, has many meanings. But what it means is evident from the subject under discussion to which it refers. From this it now becomes clear that here 'the whole earth was overspread by the sons of Noah' does not mean the whole world, that is, the whole human race, but all doctrines, both true and false, which Churches possessed.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, the pierced

-----

(References: Genesis 9:19; Isaiah 24:1-6)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 1243, 1262, 1287, 1327, 1413, 1447, 1844, 2015, 2466, 2500, 2567, 2571, 2702, 2853, 2928, 2959, 3310, 3355, 3368, 3435, 3488, 3622, 4060, 4236, 4429, 4432, 4447, 4452, 4480, 4516, 4535, 4600, 5044, 5136, 5313, 5577, 6304, 6392, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 29, 175, 242


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.

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Arcana Coelestia #1327

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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1327. 'Jehovah confounded the lip of the whole earth' means the state of this Ancient Church, that internal worship started to perish. This is clear from the fact that the phrase used is 'the lip of the whole earth' and not, as previously in verse 7, the lip of those who started to build a city and a tower. 'The face of the whole earth' means the state of the Church since 'the earth' is the Church, as shown already in 662, 1066. The story of the Churches after the Flood is as follows: There were three Churches which receive specific mention in the Word - the first Ancient Church which took its name from Noah, the second Ancient Church which took its name from Eber, and the third Ancient Church which took its name from Jacob, and subsequently from Judah and Israel.

[2] As regards the first Ancient Church, that called Noah, this was the parent so to speak of those that followed, and as is usually the case with Churches in their earliest phases, it was more untarnished and innocent, as is also clear from verse 1 of this chapter which says that it had one lip, that is, one doctrine. That is to say, everyone regarded charity as the essential. But in the course of time, as usually happens to Churches, that Church also started to decline, chiefly because many people started to divert worship to themselves so as to set themselves above others, as is clear from verse 4 above - 'they said, Let us build ourselves a city and a tower, and its head in heaven, and let us make a name for ourselves'. In the Church such people were inevitably like some fermenting agent, or like firebrands that start a fire. When the danger of profaning what is holy was consequently near at hand, referred to in 571, 582, the state of this Church was, in the Lord's Providence, altered. That is to say, its internal worship perished but its external worship remained, which here is meant by the statement that 'Jehovah confounded the lip of the whole earth'. From this it is also clear that the kind of worship called Babel was not prevalent in the first Ancient Church but in those that followed when people started to be worshipped in place of gods, especially after they had died. This was the origin of so many pagan deities.

[3] The reason internal worship was allowed to perish and external remain was to prevent what is holy being profaned. The profanation of what is holy carries eternal condemnation with it. Nobody is able to profane what is holy unless he possesses cognitions of faith and also acknowledges them. Anyone who does not possess them cannot acknowledge them, still less profane them. It is internal things which may be profaned, for it is in internal things, not external, that holiness resides. The situation is similar with someone who does evil but does not have evil in mind. The evil he does cannot be attributed to him any more than to someone who does not deliberately intend evil, or to anyone devoid of rationality. Thus anyone who does not believe in the existence of a life after death, but who nevertheless has external worship, cannot profane the things that belong to eternal life because he does not believe that they exist. The situation is different with those who do know and acknowledge them.

[4] This too is why a person is allowed rather to live engrossed in lusts and pleasures, and so to isolate himself from internal things, than to enter into a knowledge and acknowledgement of internal things and so profane them. The Jews of today therefore are allowed to immerse themselves in avarice so that in this way they may be removed from an acknowledgement of internal things, for they are the kind of people who, if they acknowledged them, would inevitably profane them. Nothing does more to isolate a person from internal things than avarice, for this is the lowest of all earthly desires. The same applies to many inside the Church, and to gentiles outside, though gentiles, least of all people, are able to profane anything. This then is the reason for the statement here that 'Jehovah confounded the lip of the whole earth', and the reason why these words mean that the state of the Church was altered, that is to say, its worship became external, having no internal worship within it.

[5] The same situation was represented and meant by the Babylonish captivity into which the Israelites, and later on the Jews, were carried away. This is spoken of in Jeremiah as follows,

And there will be a nation and a kingdom that will not serve the king of Babel, and who will not put its neck in the yoke of the king of Babel. With the sword and famine and pestilence I will visit this people, until I have consumed it by his hand. Jeremiah 27:8 and following verses.

'Serving the king of Babel and putting its neck in his yoke' is being utterly deprived of the knowledge and acknowledgement of the good and the truth of faith, and so of internal worship.

[6] The point is clearer still in the same prophet,

Thus said Jehovah to all the people in this city, your brethren who did not go out with you into captivity, thus said Jehovah Zebaoth, Behold, I am sending on them the sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like rotten figs. Jeremiah 29:16-17.

'Remaining in the city and not going out to the king of Babel' represented and meant people who possessed the cognitions of internal things, that is, of the truths of faith, and who profaned them - people on whom, it is said, He was sending 'the sword, famine, and pestilence', which are forms of punishment for profanation, and whom He was making 'like rotten figs'.

[7] That 'Babel' means people who deprive others of all knowledge and acknowledgement of truth was also represented and meant by the following words in the same prophet,

I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babel, and he will carry them off to Babel, and will smite them with the sword. And I will give over all the wealth of this city, and all its labour, and all its precious things; and I will give all the treasures of the kings of Judah into the hand of their enemies, and they will plunder them and seize them. Jeremiah 20:4-5.

Here 'all its wealth, all its lab our, all its precious things, all the treasures of the kings of Judah' means in the internal sense cognitions of faith.

[8] In the same prophet,

With the families of the north I will bring the king of Babel against this land and against its inhabitants, and against all those nations round about, and I will utterly destroy them and make them into a ruin, a hissing, and everlasting wastes. And this whole land will be a waste. Jeremiah 25:9, 11.

Here 'Babel' is used to describe the vastation of the interior things of faith, that is, of internal worship. Indeed, as shown already, anyone whose worship is worship of self possesses no truth of faith. He destroys and lays waste, and leads off into captivity, everything that is true. This is why Babel is also called 'a destroying mountain' in Jeremiah 51:25.

For more concerning Babel, see what has been stated already in 1182.

(References: Genesis 11:9)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 1363, 2049, 2051, 2115, 2383, 2426, 2520, 2799, 2868, 2897, 2913, 2986, 3031, 3079, 3380, 3398, 3542, 3708, 3727, 3757, 3898, 3901, 4031, 4289, 4447, 4601, 4744, 4874, 5044, 5128, 6348, 6959, 8882, 8902, 8904, 9298, 10227, 10287

The Last Judgment 54

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 172, 246, 247


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 104, 1029

Other New Christian Commentary

The Ancient Church 1

Wealth, labor, precious things, and treasures 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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