The Bible

 

Genesis 1

King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 1: The Creation and Development of our Spiritual Life      

By Rev. William Woofenden

The first book of the Bible is "Genesis", which means "creation". It's a very, very ancient story - one of the oldest stories of humankind, and it's full of symbolic meaning that - still - gets to the core of what it is to be truly human.

The first three days of creation describe the development of the natural degree of man's life. They come first as a preparation for the opening of the spiritual degree of our minds. The creation of the grass, herbs, and trees took place on the third day, and constitutes the third step in regeneration. The creation of the fowl and fish was on the fifth day. Between these on the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars were created.

From the beginning man had light, for all light is from the Lord, but it was not direct light. He was not at first in the clear light of the sun, moon, and stars, which are set in the firmament. The firmament is the internal man. There is a preparation that has to be made before the internal man is opened. At first we think we see the truth and do good from ourselves. Hence only inanimate things are produced. All truth and good are from the Lord who alone is truth and goodness, and only when we come to acknowledge this can we have true love from him, true faith in Him, and true knowledge of spiritual things. These are not seen from the external or natural degree of life.

Again we should note a change of language. It was said, "Let the earth bring forth" the grass, herb, and fruit trees. Now and through the remaining days it is said that "God created." Man has a part to play in his regeneration. There must be in his mind forms into which the warmth of love and the light of faith and of spiritual truths can flow.

When the mind is so prepared, influx from the Lord can be received, with greater power. "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." It should be noted that it is the waters that are commanded to bring forth the moving creature that hath life, and that it is not the seas but the waters which are to produce the living creatures. The seas represent the gathering together of knowledges, but by the "waters" are meant the spiritual truths in the mind. So in the Lord's words to the woman of Samaria, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (John 4:14). In Ezekiel it is the "waters" issuing from the sanctuary that give life (Ezekiel 47:1). The Psalmist writes, "Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters" (Psalm 104:3). It is not in natural waters that the Lord lays the beams of His chambers. His chambers are the interior principles of His church; the beams give them support and strength. These are said to be laid in the waters because they rest and have their foundation in the genuine truths of the Word. So in Revelation the Word itself is described as a pure river of water of life.

The will faculty in man embraces all his affections and is the internal man. When the sun, moon, and stars—love, faith, and knowledges of spiritual truth—are set in this heaven and begin to impart their warmth and light to the external man, enabling him to think and act from these higher and purer principles, then the external man is gifted with a new life. There may be no apparent change in his outward conduct—he may already be living a moral life—but the motives that direct his acts will be wholly different. And it is the motive that gives character to the act as well as to the actor. He no longer thinks of the truths that he has learned, either natural or spiritual, as the product of his own mind nor of the good, that he does as the result of his own efforts, but thinks of them as wholly from the Lord, who alone is the source of all true light and life.

Before one recognizes clearly that all good and truth come from the Lord, he can bring forth only inanimate things, the grass, herb, and fruit tree, however good and useful these may be. But when he is enlightened by genuine love and faith, his knowledges become the basis for the development of spiritual life and God can create in him the living creatures that have life. First the fishes are created; then the fowl of the air. There is a difference between fishes and birds. The fishes, living in water, represent our affections for natural truths. The great whales, the largest of living creatures, are affections for the great general principles that control the mind. The principle may be either true or false. Of Pharaoh or Egypt it is written, "Thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou earnest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouled at their rivers" (Ezekiel 32:2) Here is pictured a ruling false principle from the natural degree of the mind — Egypt. That is, when the ruling principle is false, it will be a monster making the truths in the mind obscure like filthy or muddy waters.

Another example of the meaning of the whale in a bad sense is in the story of Jonah. When the principle is false it swallows up for a time all the truths that are in the mind. This is the whale swallowing Jonah the prophet. But Divine truth cannot be used by a false principle so as to become a part of its organic structure. Nor can the Divine truth perish. So the whale could not digest Jonah, nor could the prophet perish, but the whale vomited him up.

Spiritually there are whales trying to swallow prophets today, evil principles that try to use Divine truths to attain their ends. In the creation story, however, the whales are affections for the principles of natural truth for the sake of uses to the spiritual man. There is one source of genuine love. The creatures of the fifth day are living because they are animated by this love. Birds fly in the air above the earth. They have the power of flight and enjoy broader views. They represent affections for truth that rise above the natural. They are the thoughts that look at life from the heights of spiritual perception, ideas about the Lord, heaven, and spiritual things. Isaiah writes, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Isaiah 40:31). Birds represent spiritual intelligence, the power to lift us up to understand spiritual truth in heavenly light, through which truth the Lord can impart to us something of the Divine intelligence. So at the baptism of the Lord "The heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him" (Matthew 3:16). So a new knowledge of heavenly life is given, a new perception of our possibilities, and in this higher intelligence a basis for further development is laid. This further development is pictured in the creation of the living creatures upon the earth. These are symbols of the affections. Here, too, it is said, "Let the earth bring forth" and also "And God made the beast of the earth." The creation of living animals on the earth and of man in the image and likeness of God marks the completion of the six days of creation—the six stages in regeneration. Man has first to learn what is to be believed and done and then to do it.

It is the office of the understanding to hear the Word and of the will to do it. In this way the truths are made our own, and the will and understanding make one mind. And when one begins to act from love as well as from faith, he becomes a spiritual man, who is called an image of God, and is given dominion over all things. Thus all things natural and spiritual come to be a delight to him and serviceable to him. To be an image and likeness of God one must act from impulses similar to those of God. This he cannot do until he comes into the final state of regeneration. Then he will not act from selfish motives, as does the natural man, nor from mere obedience to truth, but from love to the Lord and the neighbor. When these loves are developed and rule, to them is given the dominion over all subordinate affections and the fruits of all the growths of intelligence. These are what make man to be a man and cause him to be in the image and likeness of his Maker. Each step in the formation of a truly human character the Lord saw and pronounced good, but of the work of the sixth day it is said, "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

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

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgement 20

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


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

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

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

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

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

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

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

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

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

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

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

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

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Bible Word Meanings

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

God
When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

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

heaven
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

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

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

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" represents a state where truth is lacking. Here's a cogent passage...

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

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

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

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

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

light
In the Word, “light” in the highest sense represents Divine Truth: knowledge, ideas, understanding that come to us from the Lord. In lesser degrees...

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

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

called
'To proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

land
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

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

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

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

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

fruit
We tend to think of "fruit" in two ways in natural language. One is as food that grows on trees and vines, sweet and delicious,...

tree
'Trees,' in general, signify the perceptions when discussing the celestial self, but when related to the spiritual church, they signify knowledges. A person in the...

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

third
'Three' denotes fullness, and 'a third,' not full.

lights
'The two luminaries' denote love and faith in the internal self.

signs
'A token,' as in Genesis 9:12, 13, 17, signifies causing it to be.

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

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Great lights
Great lights, as in luminaries, signify love and faith, and are called in Genesis 1:14-17, the sun, moon, and stars.

great
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

greater
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

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

fourth
The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

life
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

fowl
Fowl signify spiritual truth; a bird, natural truth; and a winged thing, sensual truth. Fowl signify intellectual things. Fowl signify thoughts, and all that creeps...

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

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

whales
'A whale,' as in Jeremiah 51:34, signifies people who possess the universal aspects of the knowledges of faith, as known, and apply them to evil...

living
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

winged
'Wings' signify spiritual truths. 'Wings,' when related to the Lord, signify the divine spiritual. In the opposite sense, 'wings' relate to falsities and rationalizations from...

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

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

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

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

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

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

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

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

air
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

male
Because of their understanding of spiritual marriage, the people of the Most Ancient church perceived 'male and female' as two faculties in the spiritual self:...

male and female
Because of their understanding of spiritual marriage, the people of the Most Ancient church perceived 'male and female' as two faculties in the spiritual self:...

female
Female signifies good.

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

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

Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

The videos shown here are provided courtesy of our friends at the Swedenborg Foundation. You can find out more about them here: swedenborg.com.


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The Biblical creation story is about the re-creation of our minds. Learn how the first signs of life on the third day symbolize heavenly ideas taking root in our lives.


Swedenborg 101: The Basic Nature of Everything - Swedenborg and Life

In this episode, host Curtis Childs and featured guests explore what eighteenth-century Christian mystic and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg learned during his mystical explorations of the spiritual world. They delve into his life, spiritual awakening, and resulting philosophies about the relationship between this life and the afterlife.


What the 7 Days of Creation Mean - Swedenborg and Life

Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Is there a religious call to exploit nature? Here, Swedenborg tackles a bit of text that has led some people to believe just that.

Resources for parents and teachers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Men and Women Are Different
Studies confirm that differences between men and women extend beyond the physical body, affecting engagement on all levels of life.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

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

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

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

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

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

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

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

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

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

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Fourth Day of Creation
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Arcana Coelestia #1066

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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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.

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Footnotes:

1. literally, the pierced

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

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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 drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 29, 175, 242


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Arcana Coelestia #2959

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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2959. 'The land [is worth] four hundred shekels of silver' means the price of redemption by means of truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'four hundred shekels', dealt with below, and from the meaning of 'silver' as truth, dealt with in 1551, 2048, 2937. The reason 'four hundred shekels' means the price of redemption is that 'four hundred' means vastation and 'a shekel' price. What vastation is, see 2455 (end), 2682, 2694, 2699, 2702, 2704, where it is shown that there are two types of vastation. The first takes place when the Church altogether ceases to exist, that is, when there is no longer any charity or faith. At that point the Church is said to be vastated or laid waste. The second takes place when those who belong to the Church are reduced to a state of ignorance and also of temptation, for the reason that the evils and falsities residing with them are to be set apart and so to speak dissipated. Those who emerge from this vastation are those who are specifically called the redeemed, for at that point they are taught the goods and truths of faith, and are reformed and regenerated by the Lord, as shown in the paragraphs quoted. Now since the number four hundred, when used to specify a period of time - such as four hundred years - means the duration and also the state of vastation, so that same number, when used to specify the number of shekels, means the price of redemption; and when the word 'silver' is mentioned together with this number, the price of redemption by means of truth is meant.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2701)


[2] That 'four hundred years' means the duration and the state of vastation becomes clear also from what Abraham was told,

Jehovah said to Abraham, 1 Know for sure that your seed will be strangers in a land not theirs. And they will serve them, and these will afflict them for four hundred years. Genesis 15:13.

There it may be seen that 'four hundred years' is used to mean the duration of the stay of the children of Israel in Egypt. Yet it is not the duration of their stay in Egypt that is meant but something that is not evident to anyone except from the internal sense. This becomes clear from the fact that the duration of the stay of the children of Israel in Egypt was no more than half the stated period, as becomes quite clear from the descendants of Jacob down to Moses. For the facts are that Levi was descended from Jacob, Kohath from Levi, Amram from Kohath, and Aaron and Moses from Amram, Exodus 6:16-20; Levi and his son Kohath went down to Egypt together with Jacob, Genesis 46:11; and Moses came two generations later, and was eighty years old when he spoke to Pharaoh, Exodus 7:7. These facts show that the period of time from Jacob's entry into Egypt until his sons' departure from that land was approximately two hundred and fifteen years.

[3] That 'four hundred' is used in the Word to mean something other than its numerical value in the historical sense is clearer still from its being said that

The length of time that the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years, and at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, it happened on that same day, that all the armies of Jehovah went out of the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:40-41.

The duration of the stay of the children of Israel in that land was in fact only half that number of years; but it was from Abraham's entry into Egypt that the four hundred and thirty years were measured. Consequently what is said at this point in Exodus is for the sake of the internal sense Lying within those words. In the internal sense the sojourn of the sons of Jacob in Egypt represents and means the vastation of the Church, the state and duration of which are described by the number four hundred and thirty years. Thirty describes the state of vastation of the sons of Jacob as being no vastation at all, for they were such as could not be reformed through any state of vastation (for the meaning of the number thirty, see 2276); and 'four hundred years' represents the general state of vastation of those who belonged to the Church.

[4] Those therefore who come out of that vastation are referred to as the redeemed, as is also evident from the words addressed to Moses,

Therefore say to the children of Israel, I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from beneath the burdens of Egypt, and I will rescue you from their slavery, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgements. Exodus 6:6.

And elsewhere,

Jehovah has brought you out by means of a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slaves, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Deuteronomy 7:8; 13:5.

And elsewhere,

You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, but Jehovah your God redeemed you. Deuteronomy 15:15; 24:18.

In Samuel,

Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt. 2 Samuel 7:23.

Since those who emerge from the state of vastation are referred to as the redeemed, 'four hundred shekels' therefore means the price of redemption.

[5] As regards 'a shekel' meaning the price or valuation, this is clear from the following places in the Word: In Moses,

All your valuations shall be according to the shekel of holiness. Leviticus 27:25.

And elsewhere,

If a soul commits a trespass and has sinned inadvertently in the holy things of Jehovah, he shall bring his guilt offering to Jehovah, a ram without blemish out of the flock, according to your valuation in silver shekels, according to the shekel of holiness. Leviticus 5:15.

From this it is evident that 'a shekel' means the price or valuation. It is called 'the shekel of holiness' because the price or valuation has regard to truth and good from the Lord - truth and good from the Lord being, within the Church, holiness itself. Consequently it is called 'the shekel of holiness' many times elsewhere, as in Exodus 30:24; Leviticus 27:3; Numbers 3:47, 50; 7:13, 19, 25, 31, 37, 43, 49, 55, 61, 67, 73; 18:16.

[6] That 'a shekel' is the price of what is holy is quite evident in Ezekiel when the holy land and the holy city are the subject. There the shekel is referred to as follows,

The shekel there shall be twenty gerahs; twenty shekels, twenty-five shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh (pound). Ezekiel 45:12.

Anyone may see that here 'shekel', 'pound', and the numbers mentioned mean holy things, that is, good and truth, for the holy land and the holy city or new Jerusalem, which are the subject there, mean nothing else than the Lord's kingdom where neither shekel, nor gerahs, nor pound, nor the numbering of them occurs. But the number itself, from the meaning it has in the internal sense, determines the valuation or price of good and truth.

[7] In Moses it is said that every man (vir) should give a ransom for his soul, so that there would be no plague. He had to give half a shekel, according to the shekel of holiness, a shekel being twenty gerahs. Half a shekel was to be the thruma (offering) to Jehovah, Exodus 30:12-13. Here ten gerahs, which make half a shekel, are remnants which are received from the Lord. Remnants are goods and truths stored away with a person - such remnants, being meant by 'ten', see 576, 1738, 1906, 2284. That remnants are goods and truths from the Lord that are stored away with a person, see 1906, 2284. Consequently they are also called 'the thruma (or offering) to Jehovah', and it is said that by means of this a soul will be redeemed. The reason it is stated several times that a shekel was twenty gerahs, as in these verses from Exodus, and also in Leviticus 27:25; Numbers 3:47; 18:16; and elsewhere, is that the shekel of twenty gerahs means the valuation of the good preserved in remnants - twenty meaning the good preserved in remnants, see 2280. Also therefore a shekel was a weight according to which the price of both gold and silver was determined, Genesis 24:22; Exodus 38:24; Ezekiel 4:10; 45:12 - the price of gold because 'gold' means good, 113, 1551, 1552, and the price of silver because 'silver' means truth, 1551, 2048. From this it is now evident that 'the land [is worth] four hundred shekels of silver' means the price of redemption by means of truth. The reason it is called 'the land' is that the spiritual Church is the subject, which is reformed and regenerated by means of truth received from the Lord, 2954. That 'the land' means the Church, see 662, 1066, 1068, 1262, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end).

-----
Footnotes:

1. In Genesis 15 the patriarch's name is still Abram.

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(References: Arcana Coelestia 1066-1067, 1551-1552, 2117-2118, Genesis 23:15)

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Arcana Coelestia 2964, 2966, 3104, 3318, 4248, 4341, 7445, 7984, 9077, 10221, 10260

The White Horse 9


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 124


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