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 #28

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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28. Verse 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas; and God saw that it was good.

It is very common in the Word for 'waters' to mean cognitions and facts, and consequently for 'seas' to mean a gathering together of them, as in Isaiah,

The earth will be full of the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters covering the sea. Isaiah 11:9.

And in the same prophet, with reference to a lack of cognitions and facts,

The waters will dry up from the sea, the river will be parched and dry, and the streams will diminish. Isaiah 19:5-6.

In Haggai, with reference to a new Church,

I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory. Haggai 2:6-7.

And with reference to someone who is to be regenerated, in Zechariah,

There will be one day - it is known to Jehovah - not day and not night, for at evening time there will be light; and on that day living waters will flow out from Jerusalem, part of them to the eastern sea, and part of them to the western sea. Zechariah 14:7-8.

In David where the person is described who, having been vastated, is to be regenerated, and to worship the Lord, Jehovah does not despise His bound ones. Heaven and earth will praise Him, the seas and everything that creeps in them! Psalms 69:73, 34.

That 'the earth' means that which receives is seen in Zechariah,

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

(References: Psalms 69:33-34)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 991, 2161, 2240, 2466, 2674, 2681, 2702, 2761, 2762, 2832, 2850, 2967, 3083, 3419, 3426, 3693, 3708, 4017, 4255, 4735, 4876, 5313, 6015, 6297, 6384, 6385, 6723, 9050, 9325, 9653, 9688, 10217, 10235, 10238, 10240, 10416

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 209


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

The Bible

 

Isaiah 61:11

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11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Isaiah 61      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 61

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

1. The Spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon Me, because Jehovah has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor: He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives; and to the bound the opening of the prison;

2. To proclaim the year of the good pleasure of Jehovah, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

VERSE 1. In respect to "Jehovih", as distinguished from " Jehovah", see above, Chapter 3:15, note and Exposition.

The Divine Truth which was in the Lord when He was in the world, and which was then Himself, is here "the Spirit of Jehovih." Arcana Coelestia 9818.

Jehovah has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, etc. - These things are said concerning the Lord.

By "the poor, to whom Jehovah anointed Him to preach good tidings", are signified those who are in few Truths, and yet desire them, that their souls may be thereby sustained; by "the broken-hearted", are understood those who are thence in grief; by "the captives, to whom He should proclaim liberty", are denoted those who are secluded from Truths, and thence from Goods, to whom Truths shall be opened, whereby they shall be imbued with Goods; by "them that are bound, and him that is deprived of eyes", are signified those to whom it was denied to see Truths; thus the Gentiles are understood, who afterwards received Truths from the Lord. Apocalypse Explained 811.

Verses 1, 2. He has sent Me, - to proclaim the year oj the good pleasure of Jehovah, etc. - That these things are said concerning the Lord and His advent, may be seen in Matthew 5:3, and following verses; and in Luke 4:16-22. The advent itself is understood by "the year of the good pleasure of Jehovah", and by "the day of vengeance of our God."

By "the poor, to whom the Lord should evangelize or preach good tidings", likewise by "the captives, the bound, and the blind", are understood the Gentiles, who are called such because they were in ignorance of Truth, by reason of their not having the Word. The Gentiles are also understood, in Matthew, by "the poor, who hear the Gospel." Apocalypse Explained 612.

By "the year of good pleasure" is signified the time and state of the men of the church when they require aid from Love; wherefore it is also said, "to comfort all that mourn." Apocalypse Explained 295.

3. To impart [gladness] to the mourners of Zion; to give them a crown, instead of ashes; the oil of gladness, instead of sorrow; the mantle of praise, instead of the spirit of heaviness: that they may be called the Trees of Justice, the Plantation of Jehovah, to glorify Himself.

Verse 3. The oil of gladness, instead of sorrow, etc. - As "oil" is here mentioned, and as, in the first verse of this chapter, the Lord is said to be "anointed to preach good tidings", etc., it may be well to explain what is signified by "oil", as used in the holy things of worship, and what is meant by "anointing." That in ancient times "they anointed stones which were set up as statues", appears from Genesis 28:18, 19, 22. That "they also anointed warlike arms, targets, and shields." (2 Samuel 1:21; Isaiah 21:5)

That "they were commanded to prepare holy oil, with which they were to anoint all the holy things of the church", and that with it "they anointed the altar and all the vessels thereof, as also the Tabernacle and all things appertaining to it." (Exodus 30:22-28; 40:9-11; Leviticus 8:10-12; Numbers 7:1, 10)

That with it "they anointed those who exercised the priestly office, and their garments." (Exodus 29:7, 29; 30:30, 31; Leviticus 8:12; Psalm 133:1-3)

That with it "they anointed the prophets." (1 Kings 19:15, 16)

That with it "they anointed kings", and that therefore kings were called "Jehovah's anointed." (1 Samuel 10:1, 15:1, 16:3, 6, 12; 1 Kings 1:34, 35; 19:15, 16; 2 Kings 9:3; 23:30; Lamentations 4:20, Psalm 2:2, 6; 45:1, 7)

The reason why unction with the holy oil was commanded is, because "oil" signified the Good of Love, and represented the Lord, who, as to His Humanity, is the Real and Only "Anointed of Jehovah", anointed not with oil, but with the Divine Good itself of Divine Love; wherefore He is also named "Messiah" in the Old Testament, and "Christ" in the New, (John 1:41; 4:25) and "Messiah" and "Christ" signify the Anointed.

Hence it is that "priests", "kings", and all things appertaining to the church were anointed, and when they were anointed they were called, "holy"; not that in themselves they were holy, but because they thereby represented the Lord as to His Divine Humanity. This is the reason why it was a sacrilege to hurt a king, because he was the "anointed of Jehovah." - (1 Samuel 24:6, 10; 26:9)

Moreover it was a received custom for people to anoint themselves and others, to testify "joyfulness of mind and benevolence, but with common oil, and not with "holy oil." That " it was not lawful to anoint themselves or others with the holy oil", see Exodus 30:32, 33. Apocalypse Revealed 779.

4. And they shall build up the wastes of old times; they shall restore the former desolations; and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

Verse 4. "Wastes" here and elsewhere signify evils; "desolations" denote falsities; to "build is applied to the former, but to "restore" [or erect] to the latter. Arcana Coelestia 153.

The desolations of many generations. - That " generations" are predicated of Faith, does not appear from the sense of the letter, which is historical, but, in the internal sense, the things of Faith are understood by "generations", as in Isaiah:

"You shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the breach, the Restorer of paths to dwell in"; (Isaiah 58:12) where all things signify the things of Faith, - "old waste places" the celestial things of Faith, and the "foundations of many generations" the spiritual things of Faith, which from ancient times had been fallen. Arcana Coelestia 613.

5. And strangers shall stand up and feed your flocks; and the sons of the alien shall be your husbandmen and your vine-dressers.

Verses 5, 6. In the Jewish church the internal church was represented by "Judah" and "Israel", -by "Judah" the celestial church, and by "Israel" the spiritual, and by "Jacob" the external church; but those who placed worship in externals only were represented by the nations or Gentiles whom they called "strangers" and "aliens", who should be their servants, and perform menial services in the church, as in Isaiah:

"Strangers shall stand up and feed your flocks; and the sons of the alien shall be your husbandmen", etc. Those, who placed worship in externals only are called "the sons of the alien", who should serve in the fields and vineyards, but celestial men are here called "the priests of Jehovah", and spiritual men "the ministers of our God."

Again, in the same Prophet:

"The sons of the alien shall build up your walls"; (Isaiah 60:10) where, in like manner, the menial services of such as are in mere externals of worship, without internals, are represented. Arcana Coelestia 1097.

6. But you shall be named the Priests of Jehovah; the Ministers of our God shall you be called: the wealth of the nations shall you eat, and in their glory shall you boast.

Verse 6. Priests are called "ministers" because they represented the Lord as to the Good of love, and hence they who are in the Good of love are, in the Word, called "priests", as may be seen in Arcana Coelestia 2015; 6148; from this circumstance also it is that they are called "the ministers of God." Hence it is that the function of Aaron and his sons is called, a "ministry", as likewise that of the Levites the "'priests"; and that to enter into the tent of the assembly, and officiate in the ministry, as also to approach the altar, and there officiate in the ministry, is called to "minister", as may be seen in Exodus 28:35; 31:10; Numbers 8:15, 19, 24, 25, 26.

And in Jeremiah:

"My covenant shall become void with the Levites the priests, My ministers". (Jeremiah 33:21)

That "Aaron" represented the Lord as to the Good of love, may be seen in Arcana Coelestia 9806, 9966; that the "priests", in general, signified the same, see Arcana Coelestia 2015.

That hence by the "priesthood", in the Word, is signified the Divine Good of the Lord's Divine Love, see Arcana Coelestia 9806, Apocalypse Explained 155.

"The wealth of the nations shall you eat", signifies to appropriate Goods to themselves; "in their glory shall you boast", means to enjoy Truths; thus, to have joy and felicity from what is Good and True.

That "nations", in a good sense, signify Goods, may be seen in Arcana Coelestia 1259; and, that "glory" is Truth from the Lord, is shown in n. 9429. Arcana Coelestia 9809.

7. Instead of your shame, there shall be double; and instead of ignominy, they shall rejoice in their portion: for in their land they shall possess double; and everlasting gladness shall be unto them.

8. For I Jehovah love judgment; I hate robbery by iniquity: and I will give them the reward of their work in truth, and an everlasting covenant will I make with them;

Verse 7. That to "receive double" is predicated of retribution and of remuneration, and signifies much, may be seen above, Chapter 40:1, 2, the Exposition.

Verse 8. For I Jehovah love judgment; - and I will give them the reward of their work in truth, and an everlastlnq covenant will I make with them- By the "judgment" which Jehovah loves, is understood Truth in faith, in affection, and in act; for man has judgment from Truth, as well when he thinks and wills it, as when he speaks and acts according to it; and whereas this is signified by "judgment", therefore it is said "I will give them the reward of their work in truth", that is, heaven, according to the faith and affection of Truth in act; and whereas there is conjunction with the Lord, from whom reward comes, therefore it is also said, "I will make with them an everlasting covenant"; for by "covenant", in the Word, is signified conjunction by love, -and by "an everlasting covenant" conjunction by the love of Good and Truth; for this love conjoins, inasmuch as it is of the Lord Himself, because it proceeds from Him. Apocalypse Explained 695.

"I hate robbery by iniquity", signifies that anyone should wish to justify himself by his own works. (Swedenborg's Notes on Isaiah, p. 150.)

9. And their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring in the midst of the peoples: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are a seed which Jehovah has blessed.

Verse 9. These words also are spoken concerning the church to be established by the Lord. By "the seed which shall become known among the nations", is signified the Divine Truth which will be received by those who are in the Good of life; and by "the offspring in the midst of the peoples", is signified life according thereto. By" those who see them acknowledging that they are the seed", is understood illustration that it is genuine Truth which they receive; "which Jehovah has blessed", denotes that it is from the Lord. Such is the signification of these words in the sense abstracted from persons, but, in the strict sense, they are understood who will receive Divine Truth from the Lord. Apocalypse Explained 768.

10. I will greatly rejoice in Jehovah; my soul shall exult in my God: for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of justice; as the bridegroom decks himself with a priestly crowd, and as the bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Verse 10. To "rejoice in Jehovah", signifies in the Divine Good; to "exult in God", signifies in the Divine Truth : for the Lord is called "Jehovah" from Divine Good, and "God" from Divine Truth, and all spiritual joy is from Him, To be "clothed with the garments of salvation", means to instruct and gift with Truths; and to "cover with the robe of justice", signifies to fill with all Truth derived from Good, - "robe" denoting all Truth, because it denotes Truth in general, and "justice" is predicated of Good. Apocalypse Explained 395.

As the bridegroom decks himself with a priestly crowd [or head-dress], and as the bride adorns herself with her jewels. - To "put on the crown" is to put on wisdom, and to "adorn herself with jewels" denotes with the knowledges of Truth. Again:

"As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you." (Isaiah 62:5)

That the Lord is understood, in the supreme sense, by the "Bridegroom", and the church by the "bride", is evident in the Evangelists; as when the disciples of John inquired concerning fasting, Jesus said, "So long as the Bridegroom is with them, the sons of the bride-chamber cannot fast; the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, then shall they fast." (Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19, 20; Luke 5:34, 35)

There the Lord calls Himself the "Bridegroom", and the men of the church He calls the "sons of the bride-chamber"; by "fasting" is signified mourning on account of a deficiency of Truth and Good. So again in Matthew:

"The kingdom of the heavens is like to ten virgins, who, taking their lamps, went forth to meet the Bridegroom"; (Matthew 25:1) where also by the "Bridegroom" is understood the Lord, by "virgins" the church, and by "lamps" are signified the Truths of faith. Apocalypse Explained 1189.

11. For as the earth puts forth her shoots, and as a garden makes its seeds to spring forth: so shall the Lord Jehovih cause justice to spring forth, and praise, before all the nations.

Verse 11. As a garden makes its seeds to spring forth, so shall the Lord Jehovih cause justice to spring forth, etc. - The man of the church is, as to intelligence, like a "garden", when he is in the Good of love from the Lord, because the spiritual heat which vivifies him is love, and spiritual light is intelligence; hence, that from these two things, namely, heat and light, gardens in the world flourish, is known. It is, similar in heaven, where there appear paradisical gardens, with fruit-bearing trees, according to their wisdom derived from the Good of love from the Lord; and around those who are in intelligence, and not in the Good of love, no garden appears, but only grass; whereas about those who are in faith separate from charity, there does not even appear grass, but sand. Apocalypse Revealed 90.

As to the further meaning of a "garden", see above, Chapter 51:3; 58:11, the Exposition.

---
Isaiah Chapter 61.

1. The Spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon Me, because Jehovah has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor: He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives; and to the bound the opening of the prison;

2. To proclaim the year of the good pleasure of Jehovah, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

3. To impart [gladness] to the mourners of Zion; to give them a crown, instead of ashes; the oil of gladness, instead of sorrow; the mantle of praise, instead of the spirit of heaviness: that they may be called the Trees of Justice, the Plantation of Jehovah, to glorify Himself.

4. And they shall build up the wastes of old times; they shall restore the former desolations; and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

5. And strangers shall stand up and feed your flocks; and the sons of the alien shall be your husbandmen and your vine-dressers.

6. But you shall be named the Priests of Jehovah; the Ministers of our God shall you be called: the wealth of the nations shall you eat, and in their glory shall you boast.

7. Instead of your shame, there shall be double; and instead of ignominy, they shall rejoice in their portion: for in their land they shall possess double; and everlasting gladness shall be unto them.

8. For I Jehovah love judgment; I hate robbery by iniquity: and I will give them the reward of their work in truth, and an everlasting covenant will I make with them;

9. And their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring in the midst of the peoples: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are a seed which Jehovah has blessed.

10. I will greatly rejoice in Jehovah; my soul shall exult in my God: for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of justice; as the bridegroom decks himself with a priestly crowd, and as the bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11. For as the earth puts forth her shoots, and as a garden makes its seeds to spring forth: so shall the Lord Jehovih cause justice to spring forth, and praise, before all the nations.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 61


Other references to this verse:

Apocalypse Revealed 90

True Christian Religion 467


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 4, 20, 46

Related New Christian Commentary

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