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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From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #23

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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23. Nothing is more common in the Word than for the word 'day' to be used to mean the particular time at which events take place, as in Isaiah,

The day of Jehovah is near. Behold, the day of Jehovah comes. I will make heaven tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, on the day of My fierce anger. Its time is close at hand, and its days will not be prolonged. Isaiah 13:6, 9, 13, 22.

And in the same prophet,

Her antiquity is in the days of antiquity. On that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days of one king. Isaiah 23:7, 15.

Since 'day' stands for the particular time it also stands for the state associated with that particular time, as in Jeremiah, Woe to us, for the day has declined, for the shadows of evening have lengthened! Jeremiah 6:4

And in the same prophet,

If you break My covenant that is for the day and My covenant that is for the night, so that there is neither daytime nor night at their appointed time. Jeremiah 33:20, 25.

Also,

Renew our days as of old. Lamentations 5:21.

(References: Genesis 1:5, 1:8)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 931, 2103, 2111, 2199, 2649, 2726, 2788, 2838, 3016, 3176, 3251, 3281, 3298, 3390, 3419, 3462, 3498, 3613, 3703, 3785, 3830, 3941, 4010, 4060, 4334, 4387, 4548, 4616, 4780, 4850, 5089, 5122, 5159, 5194, 5292, 6093, 6176, 6337, ...


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 137


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

The Bible

 

Isaiah 13:9

King James Version         

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9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

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Explanation of Isaiah 13      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 13

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

1. THE burden of Babel, which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

VERSE 1. The burden of Babel [or Babylon], which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw. - As in this chapter and in the following [and also in many other parts of the Word, especially in Revelation xvii., xviii.] the subject treated of is concerning Babylon, therefore before we proceed to the explication of these chapters, it shall be shown what is understood by "Babylon" in general and in particular; also what its quality is in the beginning, and what it becomes afterwards by degrees.

By "Babylon" or by "Babel" is understood the church, consisting of those who, by the holy things of the church, aspire to dominion over the universal terrestrial globe, and this by exercising a dominion over the souls of men, claiming to themselves a power of saving whomsoever they will; and who at last seek and appropriate to themselves dominion over heaven and hell; for which end they derive and transfer to themselves all the Lord's power, as if it was given to them by Him. The church, consisting of such in its. beginning, is not the same as it becomes in process of time, In the beginning they are, as it were, in zeal for the Lord, for the Word, for love and faith, and especially for the salvation of men; but in that zeal lies concealed the fire of the love of ruling, which in process of time, as dominion increases, breaks out, and in the degree in which it comes into act, the holy things of the church become the means, and dominion itself the end; and when dominion becomes the end, then the holy things of the church are applied to that end, thus to themselves; and then they not only make the salvation of souls dependent on their own power, but also appropriate to themselves all the divine power of the Lord; and when they do this, they then pervert all the good and all the truth of the church, and thus profane its sanctities; - these things are "Babylon."

That this is the case has been shown to me to the life. In the spiritual world there were such as affected a like dominion: and whereas they knew that all power belonged to the Lord alone, they put on a zeal as it were for Him, and for heaven, and for the church, and laboured with all their might that they might worship the Lord alone, and that all things of the Word might be kept most holy; they also ordered that sanctity and integrity might reign in all; but it was given to know that in that zeal lay concealed an ardent cupidity of ruling over all others, believing that these things which they ordained were accepted by the Lord; for in truth, as soon as they obtained dominion, by degrees the end was revealed, which was not that the Lord, but that themselves, might rule, and thus that the Lord might serve them, and not they the Lord, being indignant if it was not allowed them as gods to dispose all things at their nod; yea, it was apperceived that they made light of the Lord, and even rejected Him, if the power was not granted them of doing all things according to their own pleasure, and unless every decision of theirs was assented to. It was also apperceived that they were desirous, under any pretence, to transfer His divine power to themselves if they dared, but were afraid of being cast down into hell if they did so; hereby it was shown how "Babylon", begins, and how itterminates.

Hence also it was given to conclude, that whilst dominion becomes the end, and the holy things of the church become the means, the worship of God is turned under various pretences into the worship of men, so that they themselves are gods in act, and the Lord is God not in act, but is merely called so for the sake of form. Now, inasmuch as dominion by the holy things of the church over the souls of men, over heaven, and over the Lord Himself, is inwardly profane, it follows that it is infernal; for the devils who are in hell covet nothing more than to exercise dominion over heaven, and over the Lord Himself, which they also attempt under various pretences, but whilst they are in the attempt they are swallowed up by hell. Inasmuch as in the world they who cast down the Lord from the seat of His kingdom, and place themselves upon it, are in heart like to devils, it is evident that the church consisting of them, in process of time, must be devastated as to all the Good and all the Truth thereof; this is its end. That they are devils appears from the same in the spiritual world. They who have exercised the divine power of the Lord in the world, after death speak most holily concerning the Lord and worship Him with all external devotion; but when their interiors are inspected [for they may be uncovered and inspected in the spiritual world], it is given to see that they are profane, because atheistical, and full of diabolical craftiness; hence it was manifested that their holy externals served them only as means to an end, which end was dominion.

It was once a question among certain spirits, whether any devil in hell could do the like, wherefore one of the worst was then called, and it was told him that he might receive dominion over many, if he could worship the Lord with sanctity, and acknowledge His Divine [Principle] equal to the Divine [Principle] of the Father, and perform at the same time all things appertaining to worship: he, when he heard that he could have dominion over many, immediately disposed his interiors to cunning, and his exteriors to holiness, and worshipped the Lord in a more holy manner than many angels, waxing angry against all those who adored Him not; but as soon as he observed that dominion was not given to him he became enraged against the Lord Himself, and not only denied His Divine [PrincipleJ and also the Divine [PrincipleJ of the Father, but cast reproaches upon both, for he was an atheist. That such is also the nature of "Babylon" at this day is manifestly evident from this consideration, that under the pretence of the keys being given to Peter, they have transferred to themselves all the divine power of the Lord, having shut up divine Truth from the people by taking away from thorn the Word, and have attributed to the dictates of the pope a sanctity equal, yea, actually superior to the sanctity of the Word: they also teach but little, if anything, of the fear and worship of God, but the fear and worship of themselves, and also the worship of holy things for the sake of themselves. Hence it is manifest that "Babylon", in its end, is the church void and empty of all the good of love to God, and of all the good of love towards their neighbour, and consequently of all truth, whence it is no longer a church, but an idolatry; and therefore differing very little from the Gentilism of the aucients, who worshipped Baal, Ashtaroth, Beelzebub, and several others, and notwithstanding had temples, stated feasts, altars, sacrifices, incense, drink-offerings, and other things similar to what were in the Jewish church. These things are adduced concerning "Babylon" in its beginning and in its end, in order that it may be known whence it is that "Babel", in the Word, is sometimes extolled even to heaven, and sometimes cast down even to hell. That such is the nature of "Babel" may fully appear from the descriptions and representations thereof in the Prophets, and especially in Daniel. Apocalypse Explained 1029.

2. Upon a lofty mountain erect the standard; exalt the voice unto them; wave the hand; that they may enter the gates of princes.

Verse 2. Upon a lofty mountain erect the standard, etc. - By a "sign" or a "standard", in the Word, is signified a calling together to war, and whereas it is Jehovah who [in this case] calls together for war, protection from Him is also signified by the "standard." That by a "standard" or a sign is signified a calling a together for war is manifest from this consideration, that when convocations were made, whether for journeyings or for festivals, or for war, they sounded the trumpet, and also lifted up a sign or standard upon the mountains. That they "sounded the trumpet", see Numbers 10:1-11; that they "lifted up a sign or standard" is evident from the following passages:

"Announce you in Judah, and in Jerusalem call you to be heard; and say, and sound the trumpet in the earth; proclaim, fill, say, Be gathered together, and let us enter into cities of fortification. Set up a standard towards Zion: assemble, stay not." (Jeremiah 4:5, 6)

And in Isaiah, "All you inhabitants of the globe, and dwellers all the earth, when a standard shall be lifted up, behold you, and when a trumpet sounds, hear you." (Isaiah 18:3)

Again,

"He has lifted up a standard for the Gentiles from far, and has hissed to him from the extremiity of the earth, and behold, the swift one shall quickly come. (Isaiah 5:26)

Again - "LIft you up a standard on a lofty mountain, lift up a voice unto them, shake the hand, that the gates of the princes may come." (Isaiah 13:2)

Again,

"Thus says the Lord Jehovih, Behold, I Will lift up My hand towards the nations, and towards the people will lift up My standard, that, they may bring your sons in the bosom, and may carry your daughters upon the shoulder." (Isaiah 49:22)

Frorn these passages it is evident that by a "standard" is signified a gathering together. That a "standard" or a sign, when it is predicated of the Lord, signifies also protection, is manifest from Isaiah, "They shall fear from the west the name of Jehovah, and from the rising of the sun His glory, because He shall come as a strait river, the Spirit of Jehovah shall set up a standard in it; then shall the Redeemer come to Zion." (Isaiah 59:19)

Again,

"It shall come to pass in that day, the Root of Jesse, which stands for a standard of the people, the nation shall seek; and His rest shall be glory." (Isaiah 11:10)

Inasmuch as a "sign", which in the original tongue is expressed by the same expression as a "standard", signified a gathering together, and when it was said of the Lord, signified also protection, therefore it was expressly commanded that a brazen serpent should be set for a sign, concerning which it is thus written in Moses "Jehovah said to Moses, Make to yourself a serpent, and set it upon a standard; and it shall come to pass, that everyone who has been bitten, and shall look at it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it upon a standard; whence it came to pass, if a serpent bit a man, and he looked on the serpent of brass, he revived." (Numbers 21:8, 9)" That the "brazen serpent" represented the Lord, see John 3:14, 15; that it also signified protection is evident, for the healing effected by "looking on the serpent which was on the standard", signified healing from evils of the false by looking on the Lord through faith in Him; for the Lord says in the passage quoted from John "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him may not perish, but have eternal life." Arcana Coelestia 8624.

3. I have commanded My sanctified ones; I have also called My mighty ones to [execute] My wrath;. those that exult in My greatness.

Verse 3. I have commanded My sanctified ones; I have also called My mighty ones, etc. - [These words signify that the Lord, as the Word, arranges His divine Truths, "His sanctified ones", -, - and His divine Goods "His mighty ones", for the execution of judgment, denoted by His "wrath." Similar things are meant by these words as by the Lord's "coming to judgment with His angels." Matthew 24:31.]

4. The voice of a multitude in the mountains, the likeness of much people; the voice of the tumult of kingdoms, of nations gathered together! Jehovah of Hosts musters the host for the battle.

Verse 4. The voice of the tumult of kingdoms, of nations gathered together, etc. - By the "kingdoms of the nations gathered together", of which a tumult is predicated, are not understood nations gathered together from the kingdoms [of this world], for this is a prophetic, and not an historical passage; but by the "kingdoms of the nations gathered together", are signified the falsities of evil which they have made to cohere, and by their "tumult" is understood their threats and eagerness of desire to combat against truths; for "kingdoms" are predicated of truths, and, in the opposite sense, of falsities, and "nations" signify goods, and, in the opposite sense, evils, as may be seen above, n. 175, 331; and "tulmult" is predicated of the eager desire of combating, in the present case, against truths; "Jehovah rnusters the host", signifies the arrangement of truths from good by the Lord against the falsities from evil; the Lord, is the Word, is called " Jehovah Zebaoth", from truths and goods comating against falsities and evils, for "Zebaoth" signifies hosts, and "hosts" signify the truths and goods of heaven and the church; and to "number" or muster, signifies to arrange them, and "war" spiritual combat. Apocalypse Explained 453.

As to the meaning of "Jehovah Zebaoth", or of Hosts, see above, Chapter 1:9, 24, the Exposition.

5. They come from a distant land, from the extremity of the heavens; Jehovah, and the weapons of His wrath, to destroy the whole land.

Verse 5. They come front a distant land, from the extremity of the heavens, etc. - To be at a distance [or to "come from a distant land "] signifies to be in externals, because a man is in himself when he is in his internals, for his love resides there, and hence is his life. The internals of man are such things as belong to his spirit, and in the Word are understood by "things near"; wherefore externals, which are remote from internals, are understood by "things distant." Every evil man also, whilst he is in externals, is not like himself such as he is in internals; for he then speaks and acts otherwise than he thinks and wills. For his thought and his will then is that be may appear a civil, moral, and also a spiritual man, and this either on account of the law and its penalties, or on account of fame and of honour and gain, thus on account of the fear of the loss of those things. That then rnan was at a distance from himself is evident from this circumstance, that when he returns from his externals into his internals, which is the case when he is alone, he then thinks and wills altogether otherwise, and also speaks otherwise with his companions who are like himself; hence it is evident that to "stand at a distance" is to be in things external. What is signified, in a good sense, by "coming from afar" or a distance, see below, Chap, Isaiah 43:6; 49:1, 12, the Exposition; and in Zechariah-

"They shall come from afar, and build the temple of Jehovah." (Zechariah 6:15)

Those "coming from afar" are the nations who are receptive of what is good and true; the "temple which they shall build" is the church. But in the opposite sense, by "afar off", and "the extremity of the earth or of heaven", is signified evil, because this is the external man; for all who are in evils, and thence in falsities, are external men. These are understood by "the nations and the peoples at a distance, and coming from the extremities of the earth", in the following passages, as in Isaiah,

"The nations afar off and coming from the end of the earth"; (Isaiah 5:26; 13:5), and in Jeremiah 4:16; 5:15. Apocalypse Explained 1133. See also above, Chapter 5:26, the Exposition.

[They who "come from a distance to destroy the land", that is, the church as fallen under the dominion of Babylon, or as actuated by the love of dominion by means of the truths of the Word and the holy things of the church, are here represented as "the weapons of Jehovah's wrath", which are evils and falsities of every kind arising from Babylonish principles, For Babylon must not be thought of as a distant city long since destroyed, but as a state of things existing in the fallen church and in the unregenerate mind. It should be observed that Jehovah is said to "commancl His sanctified ones", and to "call His mighty ones", (verse 3.) which signify the Lord's coming to judgment in the Truths conjoined with the Goods of His Word, by the influx and power of which, evils and falsities, signified by those "from a distance", are laid bare and overwhelm them with destruction. Why evils and falsities are said to be "the weapons of Jehovah's wrath", see above, in respect to "anger", when ascribed to Jehovah, Chapter 9:12, 17, 21; see also Chapter 1:24, the Exposition.]

6. Howl you, for the day of Jehovah is near; as a devastation from the Almighty shall it come.

7. Therefore shall all hands be slackened, and every heart of man shall melt;

Verses 6-8. Howl you, for the day of Jehovah is near, etc. - The "day of Jehovah which is near", signifies the Last Judgment performed by the Lord when He was in the world; their terror on account of the destruction then impending, is signified by "all hands are slackened, and every heart of man melteth, and they are sore afraid"; that their attempts to receive the goods and truths of heaven and the church are then in vain, by reason of the falsities of evil in which they were and still are, is signified by "pangs and sorrows seizing them, as a woman in travail"; that they are in the evils of hatred and anger, is signified by their "faces being faces of flames." Apocalypse Explained 721.

Verse 6. As a devastation from the Almighty shall it come. - The "devastation from the Almighty" [Shaddai] , signifies devastation in temptations. That God, as to temptations, was called by the ancients Shaddai, see Arcana Coelestia 1992, 3667.

"God Shaddai" signifies temptations and consolations after them, because Truths from Good [the source of consolations], are implanted in man by temptations, Arcana Coelestia 5376, and Apocalypse Explained 283.

8. And they shall. be terrified: pangs and sorrows shall seize them; as a woman in travail they shall be pained: they shall be astonished every man at his companion; their faces shall be faces of flames.

Verse 8. They shall be terrified; pangs and sorrows shall seize them, as a woman in travail, etc. - These words treat of the Last Judgment [specifically upon those understood by Babylon], when the evil are let into their interiors. The interiors of those who are in the love of self and of the world, and thence, in hatred and revenge, are understood by "their faces being faces of flames", for so they appear. The torments they then suffer from the influx of divine Good and of divine Truth, are signified by the "pangs and sorrows as of a woman in travail." Their torments are compared to the "pangs and sorrows of a woman in labour", from a similar cause to that stated in Genesis 3:16; for evils and falsities are then conjoined; in which case, when divine Good and Truth flow in, "pangs and sorrows seize upon them." Apocalypse Explained 412.

9. Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh! cruel with indignation, and with burning wrath: to make the land a desolation; and the sinners thereof He shall destroy from out of her.

Verses 9, 10, 12, 13. Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, to make the land a desolation; etc. - That the "land" here denotes the church, is evident from each expression understood in a spiritual sense. The subject treated of is concerning its end, when Truth and Good, or Faith and Charity, are no more; for by "the constellations and stars which do not shine", are signified the knowledges of Truth and Good; by "the sun which is darkened in its rising", is signified love; by "the moon which causes not its light to shine", is signified faith; by "man who shall be rendered more rare than pure gold," is signified intelligence and wisdom. Hence it is manifest what is meant by "Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, to make the earth a desolation; I will make the heavens tremble, and, the earth [or land] shall be shaken out of her place." The "day of Jchovah" is the end of the church, when judgment takes place; the "earth" [or land] is the church; that the earth itself is not shaken out of its place is evident, but that the church where there is not Love and Faith is removed; to be " shaken out of her place" is to be removed Irom a former state. Apocalypse Explained 304.

Verses 9, 13. Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, cruel with indignation etc. - By a "cruel day" and the "burning wrath of Jehovah" is understood the Last Judgment; and because it is the evil which waxes hot and the false which is angry, it is therefore called "the day of the wrath of anger"; by "the earth which shall be made a desolation, and which shall be shaken out of her place", is understood the earth. which is in the spiritual world, for in that world there are earths as in our world; and when the Last Judgment is performed, the earths in that world are "made a desolation", and are "shaken out of their places", the mountains and hills being overturned, and the valleys sinking into marshes, where the face of things is entirely changed. By the "earth", in the spiritual sense, is everywhere understood the church; for in the spiritual world the face of the earth is similar to the state of the church with those who dwell there, wherefore when the church perishes the earth also perishes, for they make one; and then in place of the former earth a new one exists. But these changes are unknown to us on our earth, which nevertheless are to be declared and manifested, in order that the spiritual sense of such expressions as we are treating of may be unrlerstood. A Apocalypse Explained 413.

The devastation and destruction of the church at its end are described by the "indignation, anger, and wrath of Jehovah", whereas it is quite the contrary, namely, that instead of the Lord it is man who as being in evil, is "indignant, angry, and burns with wrath", and opposes himself to what is Good and True. The punishment which is from evil is ascribed to Jehovah on account of the appearance. Elsewhere, frequently, in the Word, the last time of the church and its destruction is called "the day of the anger of Jehovah." Arcana Coelestia 5798.

As to the meaning of "anger", when ascribed in the Word to the Lord, see above, Chapter 9:12, 17, 21, the Exposition.

10. For the stars of heaven, and the constellations thereof, shall not shine forth with their light: the sun shall be darkened at his rising, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

Verses 9-18. The day of Jehovah cometh, cruel with indignation, and with burning wrath, etc. - The subject here treated of is concerning the last time of the churoh, when there is no longer any faith and charity, which time is "the day of Jehovah, cruel with indignation, and with burning wrath." Every one may see that something else is meant than what the words barely dictate; but what is meant cannot be known but from the significatives of the expressions in the spiritual sense, in which sense that "earth" [or land] denotes the church, see Arcana Coelestia 566, 662; hence "to make the land a desolation, and to destroy sinners from out of her", signifies the man of the church at that time without faith and charity. That "stars and constellations" denote the knowledges of truth and good, see Arcana Coelestia 2120; which are said "not to shine with their light", when they are no longer illustrated by the light of heaven which flows in by [or through] the faith of charity; that the "sun" denotes love to the Lord, and the "moon" faith in Him, see Arcana Coelestia 2120, 2441; hence "the sun being darkened in his rising", signifies that love to the Lord cannot exist with man, and "the moon not causing her light to shine", signifies that neither can charity and faith exist, thus that man cannot any longer be regenerated. To "make a man more rare than fine gold, and [the son of] man than the gold of Ophir", signifies that good is no longer seen, nor truth, for by "man" is signified the good of the church, Arcana Coelestia 4287, and by the "son of man" truth derived from good; in the supreme sense the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, Arcana Coelestia 1724, 1733. "Everyone that is found shall be thrust through", signifies that all would perish by reason of the evil of the false; and "everyone that is gathered together shall fall by the sword", signifies that they should perish by reason of the false; that to be "thrust through" denotes to perish by reason of the evil of the false, see Arcana Coelestia 4503; and that to "fall by the sword" denotes to perish by reason of the false, see Arcana Coelestia 2799. "Their infants shall be dashed before their eyes", signifies that they were about extinguish innocence altogether, for" infants" denote innocence, Arcana Coelestia 430; "their wives being ravished", signifies that the goods of truth were perverted, for" wives" denote the goods of truth, Arcana Coelestia 2517, 4510, and to be "ravished" denotes to be perverted, Arcana Coelestia 2466, 4865. "their bows shall dash the young men to pieces", signifies that the truths of good were about to perish by doctrines of the false derived from evil, for a "bow" denotes the doctrine of truth, and, in the opposite sense, the doctrine of the false, Arcana Coelestia 2686; "young men" denote truths confirmed, Arcana Coelestia 7668; and "their eye shall not spare the sons", signifies that he who understands truths still extinguishes them, for "sons" denote truths, Arcana Coelestia 489, 491, and the "eye" denotes the understanding of truth, Arcana Coelestia 2701. From these considerations it is now plain what is meant by the above prophetic words, that is, that when the church comes to its end, all Truth and all Good are about to perish. Arcana Coelestia 8902.

11. And I will visit upon the world its wickedness, and upon the wicked their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease; and I will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

Verse 11. I will visit upon the world its wickedness, and upon the wicked their iniquity. - By the "world" here also are understood those of the church who are in evils, and by the "impious" those who are in falsities; wherefore it is said, "I will visit upon the world its wickedness, and upon the wicked their iniquity"; "evil or 'wickedness" denoting evil, and "iniquity" is predicated of falsities. Apocalypse Explained 741.

Verses 11, 15. I will visit upon the world its wickedness; everyone found therein shall be thrust through, etc. - Treating also of Babylon. That "everyone found therein shall be thrust through", signifies that they shall perish by evil; and "everyone that is gathered together shall fall by the sword", signifies to perish by falsities. Apocalypse Explained 315.

12. I will make a man more rare than fine gold; and [the son of] man than the gold of Ophir.

13. Wherefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth shall be shaken out of her place: in the indignation of Jehovah of Hosts;. and in the day of His burning anger.

Verse 12. I will make a man more rare than fine gold, etc. - By a "man" [virum hominem] is signified intelligence, and by a "man" [hominem], wisdom: and that these were about to cease, is signified by its being said that "they shall be rendered rare." Intelligence is distinguished from wisdom by this, that intelligence is the understanding of truth, such as the spiritual man has, and wisdom is the understanding of truth, such as the celestial man has; the understanding of the latter being from the will of good. Hence it is evident what is signified bythe "man" [virum hominem] and what by the "man" [hominem], in the above passage. Apocalypse Explained 280.

By a "man" is there understood intelligence, the scarcity of which Is understood by being "more rare than fine gold; by intelligence is meant that which is derived from truths, truths being the foundation of all intelligence.

By "shaking the heavens, and the earth being moved out of its place", is signified the dissipation of the good of love and the truth of faith, and worship in the externals thence derived; "the heavens and the earth" signifying here, as above, the internal and external of the church, the former being the good of love and faith; and the latter the worship thence derived; for according to the quality of the internal of the man of the church, such is his external, inasmuch as the latter proceeds entirely from the former. Without this there is external inanimate worship and expression without spirit, and without thought from which expression flows, and will from which gesture comes, without life, for there is no spiritual principle therein from which life is derived. Apocalypse Explained 400.

14. And it [Babel] shall be as a roe chased, and as sheep when there is none to gather them: they shall look everyone to his own people, and they shall flee everyone to his own land.

15. Everyone that is found shall be thrust through; and everyone that is gathered together shall fall by the sword.

16. And their infants shall be dashed before their eyes; their houses shall be plundered, and their wives ravished.

Verse 14., And it [Babel] shall be as a roe chased, etc. - [The "roe" or gazelle chased", and the "sheep having none to gather them", etc., signify when predicated of Babel, as in this case, those who are in external good as represented by those animals, but not in internal good. At the period of Judgment there are many who have the semblance of good in the external, but not the reality thereof in the internal. "They seem to have", (Luke 8:18) but this semblance is then taken away, when "they look to their own people, and flee to their own land", which signifies that they come to their own states, and put on externals corresponding to their internals.]

17. Behold, I will raise up against them the Medes, who do not esteem silver; and as to gold, have no delight in it.

18. Their bows shall dash the young men to pieces; and all the fruit of the womb they shall have no pity: their eye shall not spare the sons.

Verses 17, 18. Behold, I will raise up against them the Medes, etc. By the "Medes" are understood those who make no account of the Truth and Good of the church, and destroy those things which are thence of the understanding and love; by the "silver which they shall not esteem", and by the "gold with which they shall not be delighted", is signified the Truth and Good of heaven and the church; by "silver" their truth, and by "gold" their good. "Their bows shall dash the young men to pieces, and on the fruit of the womb they shall have no pity, " signifies that falsities of doctrine will destroy all the understanding of truth and all the good of love; "bows" denotin the falsities of doctrine, "young men" the intelligence of truth, and "the fruit of the "womb" the good of love; "their eye shall not spare the sons", signifies that their perverted understanding and insanity will devastate all the truth of the church; "sons" denoting truths, and the "eye" the understanding perverted, which is insanity. It is to be observed that by the "Medes" are not understood the Medes, but such persons and things in the church as devastate it. Apocalypse Explained 710.

19. And Babel, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the magnificence of the Chaldeans, shall become as the overthrow by God of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Verse 19. Inasmuch as all the evil with them is from the love of self, and all the false is from that evil, and that evil and the false thence derived is condemned to hell, therefore it is said, "So shall Babel be, as the overthrow by God of Sodom and Gomorrah"; the "overthrow by God" signifying condemnation to hell, and "Sodom and Gomorrah", the evils originating in the love of self and the falsities thence derived. That these things are signified by "Sodom and Gomorrah", may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia 220, 2246, 2322. Apocalypse Explained 357.

For the signification of "Sodom and Gomorrah", see above, ChapterIsaiah 1:9, the Exposition.

Verses 19-22. Babel [or Babylon], etc. - The subject treated of in the whole of this chapter is concerning the total devastation of all things appertaining to the Good, and of all things appertaining to the Truth of the church, with those who are signified by "Babylon."

By "so shall Babel be", in the sense of the letter, is understood the great city called "Babel", but in the spiritual sense is understood thereby the church which became "Babylon." Babel is called "the beauty of the kingdoms, and the glory of the magnificence of the Chaldeans", from the wisdom of that church in its beginning, as has been said before; but, in general, by "Babylon" or "Babel" is understood the church in which all the goods of love are destroyed, and at last profaned, and by "Chaldeans", the church in which all the truths of faith are destroyed; hence it is that it is called "the overthrow by God of Sodom and Gomorrah"; "Sodom" also signifying the destruction of all good by the love of self, and "Gomorrah" the destruction of all truth thence derived. "It shall not be inhabited for ever, nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation", signifies the destruction thereof to eternity; "not to be inhabited for ever" having respect to the destruction of Good, and "not to be dwelt in from generation to generation" having respect to the destruction of Truth, for they who destroy Good and Truth, and afterwards embrace what is evil and false in the place thereof, cannot be reformed. It is otherwise with those who are in evils and falsities, but yet have not destroyed Good and Truth, as is the case with the nations or Gentiles who are ignorant of Good and Truth. "The Arab shall not pitch [his] tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their flocks to lie there", signifies that the church will become such a wilderness; the "Arab" denoting those who live in a wilderness, but do not continue there, because there is no corn nor fruit, as is the case also with "the flocks of the shepherds", when there is no pasture. "The zijim shall lie there, and the ochim shall fill their houses", signifies infernal falsities and evils appertaining to them; the "zijim" infernal falsities, and the "ochim" infernal evils; and the "house" is the mind of those who are of such a quality. "The daughters of the owl shall dwell there, and there shall the satyrs dance", signifies that falsified truths and adulterated goods are there; falsified truths are "the daughters of the owl", and adulterated goods are the "satyrs"; and to "dance or leap" denotes the joy arising from the' filthy lust [of dominion] whereby the good of love to the Lord is adulterated. "The ijim shall howl in their houses, and dragons in their palaces of delights" [or voluptuousness], signifies those adulterations and falsifications in their doctrines. Apocalypse Explained 1029.

20. It shall not be inhabited for ever; nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: the Arab shall not pitch [his] tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their flocks to lie there.

Verse 20. It shall not be inhabited for ever; nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation; etc. - Whereas the love of self does not acknowledge any truth of the church, it is said "not a man shall dwell there, nor shall the son of man tarry therein"; by "man" [vir] is signified intelligence, and by "the son of man " [filius hominis], the truth of the church. Apocalypse Explained 653.

21. But monsters [Zijim] shall lie there; and doleful creatures [Ochim] shall fill their houses: and the daughters of the owl shall dwell there; and there shall the satyrs dance.

22. And wild beasts [Ijim] shall howl in their houses, and dragons in their palaces of voluptuousness: and her time is near to come; and her days shall not be prolonged.

Verse 21. But monsters [Zijim] shall lie there; and doleful creatures [Ochim] shall fill their houses: and the daughters of the owl shall dwell there; and there shall the satyrs dance. - These things are said concerning Babel. That such merely natural and corporeal concupiscences appertain to those who are understood by "Babel", and constitute the life of their mind, is signified by their "houses" being filled with such things, and by their" dwelling and dancing there"; by "house" is signified the mind [mens], or the merely external rnind [animus] of man, with the things therein contained; by "the daughters of the owl" are signified falsities, and by "the demons of the forest, or satyrs", cupidities merely corporeal. Apocalypse Explained 586. See also Apocalypse Revealed 756, 757.

---
Isaiah Chapter 13.

1. THE burden of Babel, which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

2. Upon a lofty mountain erect the standard; exalt the voice unto them; wave the hand; that they may enter the gates of princes.

3. I have commanded My sanctified ones; I have also called My mighty ones to [execute] My wrath;. those that exult in My greatness.

4. The voice of a multitude in the mountains, the likeness of much people; the voice of the tumult of kingdoms, of nations gathered together! Jehovah of Hosts musters the host for the battle.

5. They come from a distant land, from the extremity of the heavens; Jehovah, and the weapons of His wrath, to destroy the whole land.

6. Howl you, for the day of Jehovah is near; as a devastation from the Almighty shall it come.

7. Therefore shall all hands be slackened, and every heart of man shall melt;

8. And they shall. be terrified: pangs and sorrows shall seize them; as a woman in travail they shall be pained: they shall be astonished every man at his companion; their faces shall be faces of flames.

9. Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh! cruel with indignation, and with burning wrath: to make the land a desolation; and the sinners thereof He shall destroy from out of her.

10. For the stars of heaven, and the constellations thereof, shall not shine forth with their light: the sun shall be darkened at his rising, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

11. And I will visit upon the world its wickedness, and upon the wicked their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease; and I will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

12. I will make a man more rare than fine gold; and [the son of] man than the gold of Ophir.

13. Wherefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth shall be shaken out of her place: in the indignation of Jehovah of Hosts;. and in the day of His burning anger.

14. And it [Babel] shall be as a roe chased, and as sheep when there is none to gather them: they shall look everyone to his own people, and they shall flee everyone to his own land.

15. Everyone that is found shall be thrust through; and everyone that is gathered together shall fall by the sword.

16. And their infants shall be dashed before their eyes; their houses shall be plundered, and their wives ravished.

17. Behold, I will raise up against them the Medes, who do not esteem silver; and as to gold, have no delight in it.

18. Their bows shall dash the young men to pieces; and all the fruit of the womb they shall have no pity: their eye shall not spare the sons.

19. And Babel, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the magnificence of the Chaldeans, shall become as the overthrow by God of Sodom and Gomorrah.

20. It shall not be inhabited for ever; nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: the Arab shall not pitch [his] tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their flocks to lie there.

21. But monsters [Zijim] shall lie there; and doleful creatures [Ochim] shall fill their houses: and the daughters of the owl shall dwell there; and there shall the satyrs dance.

22. And wild beasts [Ijim] shall howl in their houses, and dragons in their palaces of voluptuousness: and her time is near to come; and her days shall not be prolonged.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 13


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 23, 31, 2495, 4697, 5798, 6588, 6997, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 51, 53, 285, 340, 635, 717

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 78

Doctrine of the Lord 4

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture 14

True Christian Religion 82, 198, 689


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 72, 304, 401, 413

Marriage 82

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 39

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Related Books  (see all)


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Isaiah 2:12, 34:8, 63:4, 66:17

Ezekiel 30:3

Joel 2:1

Zephaniah 1:15

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