The Bible

Genesis 1

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 2 →

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genesis 2 →

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

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

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

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

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

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

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

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

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

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

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Word/Phrase Explanations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

female
Female signifies good.

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

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

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

Resources for parents and teachers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

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

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

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

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

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #23

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

Study this Passage

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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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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

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 unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 137


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

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #2788

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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2788. That 'on the third day' means that which has been completed, and the beginning of sanctification, is clear from the meaning of 'the third day'. 'Day' in the Word means state, 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, as also does 'year', and as in general do all periods of time - an hour, day, week, month, year, or age; also morning, midday, evening, and night; and spring, summer, autumn, and winter. And when 'the third' is added to any of these the end of that state, and at the same time the beginning of the next, are meant. Here, the subject being the sanctification of the Lord which was effected by means of temptations, 'the third day' means that which has been completed and at the same time the beginning of sanctification, as also follows from what has been said previously to this. The reason for this meaning is that when He had fulfilled everything the Lord was to rise again on the third day, for the things that were done by the Lord while He lived in the world, that is, the things that were yet to be done by Him, were embodied within the representatives of the Church as though they had already been done. This was as it is with the internal sense of the Word, for with God that which is yet to come to pass and that which already is are one and the same; indeed to Him the whole of eternity is here and now.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 487-488)


[2] This is why the number three was representative not only in the Ancient Church and in the Jewish but also among various gentile nations; see what has been stated about this number in 720, 901, 1825. That such was the origin of the meaning of 'three' is clear in Hosea,

We will return to Jehovah, for He has wounded and will heal us; He has stricken and will bind us up; He will revive us after two days, on the third day He will raise us up that we may live before Him. Hosea 6:1-2.

Here 'the third day' stands for the coming of the Lord and His resurrection. The same is clear from Jonah, in that he was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights, Jonah 1:17, to which the Lord refers in Matthew as follows,

As Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40.

[3] It should be realized that in the internal sense of the Word 'three days' and 'the third day' have the same meaning, as also do 'three' and 'third' in the following places: In John,

Jesus said to the Jews, Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. He was speaking of the temple of His body. John 2:19-21; Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:58; 15:29.

It is a well known fact that the Lord rose again on the third day.

[4] For the same reason the Lord also distinguished three periods in His life: in Luke,

Go and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, but on the third day I reach completion. Luke 13:32.

Also, the Lord underwent the final temptation, which was that of the Cross, at the third hour of the day, Mark 15:25. Three hours later, that is, at the sixth hour, darkness fell over the whole land, 1 Luke 23:44. And three hours after that, at the ninth hour, the end came, Mark 15:33-34, 37. But in the morning of the third day He rose again, Mark 16:1-4; Luke 24:7. See also Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:18-19; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34; Luke 18:33; 24:46. From all this, and especially from the Lord's resurrection on the third day, the number three was representative and possessed a spiritual meaning. This fact becomes clear from the following places in the Word:

When Jehovah came down upon Mount Sinai He told Moses that he was to sanctify the people today and tomorrow and they were to wash their garments and be ready on the third day, for on the third day Jehovah would come down. Exodus 19:10-11, 15-16.

When they travelled from the mountain of Jehovah on a three days' journey, the Ark of Jehovah travelled before them on the three days' journey to search out rest for them. Numbers 10:33.

There was thick darkness for three days in all the land of Egypt, and nobody could see his brother for three days, but the children of Israel had light. Exodus 10:22-23.

(References: Matthew 20:19)


[5] The flesh of a sacrifice made as a vow-offering or as a freewill-offering was to be eaten on the first and the second day; nothing was to be kept until the third day but was to be burned, because it was an abomination. So too with the flesh of a sacrifice made as a 'eucharistic' offering; if this was eaten on the third day the one offering the sacrifice would not be accepted and that soul would bear his iniquity. Leviticus 7:16-18; 19:6-7.

Anyone who touched a dead body was to purify himself on the third day, and on the seventh day he would be clean. If he did not do so that soul would be cut off from Israel. And one that was clean was to sprinkle water over the unclean person on the third day and on the seventh day. Numbers 19:12-13, 19.

Those who had killed someone in battle and had touched one who had been slain were to purify themselves on the third day and on the seventh day. Numbers 31:19.

(References: Leviticus 19:6-8)


[6] When they came into the land of Canaan the fruit of a tree was to be uncircumcised for three years and not eaten. Leviticus 19:23.

At the end of three years they were to bring every tenth part of their produce in that year and deposit it within their gates so that the Levite, the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow might eat. Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 26:12.

Three times a year they were to keep a feast to Jehovah. And three times a year every male person was to appear before the face of the Lord Jehovah. Exodus 23:14, 17; Deuteronomy 16:16.

Joshua told the people that in three days they would be crossing the Jordan and inheriting the land. Joshua 1:11; 3:2.

Jehovah called to Samuel three times and the third time he answered Him. 1 Samuel 3:8.

(References: Deuteronomy 24:12)


:[7] When Saul wished to kill David, :David hid in the field until the third evening. Jonathan told David, :I will sound out my father on the third day from now. Jonathan said that he would shoot three arrows to the side of the stone. And David fell face to the ground, , :12, 19, 20, 35, 36, 41.

David was to choose one of these three things - either seven years of famine in the land, or his own flight before his enemies for three months, or pestilence in the land for three days. 2 Samuel 24:12-13.

(References: 1 Samuel 20:5, 20:12, 20:19-20, 20:35-36, 20:41)


[8] There was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. 2 Samuel 21:1.

Elijah stretched himself over the dead boy three times and revived him. 1 Kings 17:21.

When he had built the altar to Jehovah, Elijah told them to pour water over the burnt offering and over the wood three times. 1 Kings 18:34.

Fire consumed the captains of fifty sent on two occasions to Elijah, but not the one sent on the third occasion. 2 Kings 1:13-14.

It was a sign to King Hezekiah that they were to eat in that year what had grown of itself, and in the second year further growth from the same; but in the third year they were to sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of these. 2 Kings 19:29.

(References: 1 Kings 17:21-22; 2 Kings 1:13)


[9] Daniel went into his house and had the windows open in his [upper] chamber towards Jerusalem, where three times a day he gave thanks on his knees and prayed. Daniel 6:10, 13.

Daniel was mourning for three whole weeks, not eating pleasant bread, nor drinking wine, nor anointing himself, until the three whole weeks were completed. Daniel 10:2-3.

Isaiah went naked and barefoot three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and against Cush. Isaiah 20:3.

Out of the Lampstand went three branches on either side, and three almond-shaped cups on each branch. Exodus 25:32-33.

In the Urim and Thummim there were three precious stones in each row. Exodus 28:17-20.

(References: Daniel 6:11, 6:14; Exodus 28:17-19)


[10] In the New Temple there were to be three chambers on this side of the gate and three on that, and all three were to measure the same. And the breadth of the gate to the vestibule of the house was to be three cubits this way and three cubits that. Ezekiel 40:10, 21, 48.

In the New Jerusalem there were to be three gates to the north, three to the east, three to the south, and three to the west. Ezekiel 48:31-34; Revelation 21:13.

The same may be seen in the following places:

Peter denied Jesus three times. Matthew 26:34, 69 and following verses.

The Lord said to Peter three times, Do you love Me? John 21:17.

Also, in the parable about the man who planted a vineyard, he sent servants three times, and at length his own son. Luke 20:12; Mark 12:2, 4-6.

The labourers in the vineyard were hired at the third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour, and the eleventh hour. Matthew 20:1-17.

And concerning the fig tree which, because it bore no fruit for three years, was to be cut down. Luke 13:6-7.

(References: Matthew 20:1-16, Matthew 26:69-75)


[11] Just as a group of three and a third one were representative, so also was a third part, as in the following:

Minchahs consisted of two tenths of fine flour mixed with a third part of a hin of oil, and the wine for the drink-offering was a third of a hin. Numbers 15:6-7; Ezekiel 46:14.

In Ezekiel it is said that he was to run a razor over his head and over his beard, and then to divide his hair, burning a third part in the fire, striking a third around the city with his sword, and scattering a third to the wind. Ezekiel 5:1-2, 11.

In Zechariah it is said that in the whole land, two parts were to be cut off, and the third would be left. Yet this third would be led through fire and tested. Zechariah 13:8-9.

[12] In John it is said that when the first angel sounded there came hail, and fire mixed with blood; and it fell on to the earth so that a third part of the trees were burned. The second angel sounded and so to speak a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea. And a third part of the sea became blood resulting in the death of a third part of the creatures who had their being in the sea. And a third part of the ships was destroyed. The third angel sounded and there fell from the sky a great star burning like a torch and it fell upon a third part of the rivers. The name of the star is Wormwood. The fourth angel sounded and a third part of the sun was struck, and a third part of the moon, and a third part of the stars, so that a third part of these was blacked out, and the day had no light for a third part of it, nor likewise the night. Revelation 8:7-12.

[13] The four angels were released to kill a third part of mankind. Revelation 9:15.

A third part of mankind was killed by these three, fire, smoke, and brimstone, which went forth out of the mouths of the horses. Revelation 9:18.

The dragon drew with his tail a third part of the stars of heaven and cast them down to the earth. Revelation 12:4.

'A third part' however means something which is not yet finished, whereas 'a third' and 'a group of three' mean that which has been finished - evil in the case of the evil, good in the case of the good.

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Footnotes:

1. or over the whole earth

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(References: 1 Kings 17:21-22; Genesis 22:4; Matthew 20:1-16)


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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 2813, 2904, 2905, 2906, 3016, 3056, 3176, 3251, 3281, 3298, 3390, 3462, 3498, 3613, 3703, 3785, 3786, 3814, 3827, 3830, 3837, 3938, 3941, 4010, 4060, 4119, 4283, 4334, 4387, 4495, 4548, 4616, 4780, 4814, 4850, 4882, 4901, 4916, ...

The Last Judgment 39

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 122


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 9, 20, 137, 194, 242, 285, 571

Other New Christian Commentary

Three 1

Third 1

Third day 1


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


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