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 #487

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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487. 'Days means periods of time and states in general. This has been shown in Chapter 1, where the 'days of creation' have no other meaning. In the Word it is very common for a whole period of time to be called 'a day', as it clearly is in the present verse and in verses 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 27, 31, below; and therefore the states that belong to periods of time in general are meant by 'days' as well. And when 'years' is attached, then periods of years mean the natures of those states, and so the states in particular.

[2] The most ancient people had their own particular numbers which they would use to mean different aspects of the Church - for instance, the numbers three, seven, ten, twelve, and many which they obtained from these and other numbers - and in so doing incorporated states of the Church. These numbers therefore contain arcana that would require considerable effort to unravel. Really a number was an evaluation of the states of the Church. The same feature occurs throughout the Word, especially in the prophetical. And the religious ceremonies of the Jewish Church also entail numbers specifying periods of time as well as quantities; for example, in connection with sacrifices, minchahs, oblations, and other practices, which in every case have special reference to holy things. Consequently eight hundred in this verse, nine hundred and thirty in the next, and the numbers of years mentioned in the verses that follow after that, embody in particular more matters than can possibly be retold; matters, that is to say, which have to do with changes in the state of their Church in relationship to their own general state. Later on, in the Lord's Divine mercy, the meaning of the simple numbers up to twelve will be given, for without knowing these first of all no one can grasp what compound numbers mean.

(References: Genesis 5:4)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 893, 931, 1105, 1332, 1429, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2103, 2109, 2111, 2199, 2213, 2252, 2269, 2575, 2636, 2649, 2726, 2788, 2838, 2905, 3016, 3176, 3251, 3252, 3281, 3298, 3390, 3405, 3419, 3462, 3469, 3498, 3613, 3703, 3785, 3824, ...

The White Horse 10

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1, 259


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 39, 124


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

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #4060

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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4060. Therefore the words quoted above [in 4056] mean the state of the Church at that time as regards good, that is, as regards charity towards the neighbour and love to the Lord. This is clear from the internal sense of these words, which is as follows:

But immediately after the affliction of those days means the state of the Church as regards the truth of faith, which is dealt with in the verses immediately before this. In the Word desolation of truth is called 'affliction' in various places - 'days' being states, see 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2788, 3462, 3785. From this it is evident that these words mean that once faith no longer exists neither will any charity exist. For faith leads to charity because it teaches what charity is, and charity acquires its particular character from the truths of faith. The truths of faith however receive their essence and life from charity, as has been shown many times in previous volumes.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 487-488)


[2] The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light means love to the Lord, which is 'the sun', and charity towards the neighbour, which is 'the moon'. 'Being darkened' and 'not giving light' mean that that love and charity will not be in evidence and so will disappear. For 'the sun' means the celestial kind of love and 'the moon' the spiritual kind; that is, 'the sun' means love to the Lord, and 'the moon' charity towards the neighbour which comes through faith, see 1053, 1529, 1530, 2120, 2441, 2495. The reason why the sun and the moon have these meanings is that the Lord is seen in the next life as a sun by those in heaven who are governed by love to Him and are called celestial, and as a moon by those who are governed by charity towards the neighbour and are referred to as spiritual, see 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 3636, 3643.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1529-1530)


[3] The sun and the moon in heaven, or the Lord, are never darkened, nor do they lose their light but are shining unceasingly. Thus in heaven there is no darkening or loss of light in the love which celestial angels have for the Lord or in the charity which spiritual angels show towards the neighbour. Nor on earth is there any in people with whom angels are present, that is, in people who are governed by love and charity. But those who are not governed by any love or charity, only by self-love and love of the world, and consequently by feelings of hatred and revenge, bring that kind of obscurity to themselves. It is like the sun of this world which is shining constantly; yet when clouds intervene the sun is not visible, see 2441.

[4] And the stars will fall from heaven means that cognitions of good and truth will perish. When mentioned in the Word 'stars' have no other meaning than those cognitions, 1808, 2849.

And the powers of the heavens will be shaken means the foundations of the Church which are said to be shaken and jolted when those cognitions perish. This is because the Church on earth is heaven's foundation; for the influx of good and truth from the Lord through the heavens culminates ultimately in the goods and truths present with the member of the Church. Consequently when the state of the member of the Church is so perverse that he no longer allows good or truth to flow into him 'the powers of the heavens' are in that case said 'to be shaken'. That being so, the Lord always provides for some vestige of the Church to be left. And when the old Church perishes a new one is established.

[5] And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven means the manifestation of Divine truth - 'sign' meaning a manifestation, 'the Son of Man' the Lord as regards Divine truth, see 2803, 2813, 3704. This manifestation, or this 'sign', is what the disciples asked for when they said to the Lord,

Tell us, when will those things take place; what especially will be the sign of Your coming and of the close of the age? Matthew 24:3.

For they knew from the Word that when the age drew to a close the Lord would come, and they knew from the Lord that He would be coming again, by which they understood the Lord's coming a second time into the world since they were not yet aware of the fact that the Lord had come as often as the Church had been brought to ruin. Not that any of these comings had been a coming in person, as was the case when, through birth in the world, He took on the Human and made this Divine. Rather, those comings had been made through appearances or manifestations of Himself, such as when He appeared in Mamre to Abraham, in the bush to Moses, on Mount Sinai to the Israelites, and to Joshua when he entered the land of Canaan. There were other comings of a less visible nature, such as those at times when inspiration was received and the Word was given by means of it, and later on through the Word itself. For the Word has the Lord present within it; every detail there comes from Him and has reference to Him, as may be recognized from what has been shown many times up to now. This is the kind of appearance that is meant here by 'the sign of the Son of Man' and is the subject in the present verse under consideration.

(References: Exodus 3:2, Exodus 19:18; Genesis 18:1)


[6] And then all the tribes of the earth will mourn means that all in whom the good of love and the truth of faith dwell will experience grief. This is what is meant by 'mourning', see Zechariah 12:10-14; and 'the tribes' means all aspects of good and truth, that is, of love and faith, 3858, 3926, and so consequently those in whom these things dwell. The phrase 'the tribes of the earth' is used because those inside the Church are meant - 'the earth' being the Church, see 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2928,

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1066-1067, Arcana Coelestia 3355)


[7] And they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory means that at that time a revelation of the internal sense of the Word - the sense in which the Lord is present - will take place. 'The Son of Man' means Divine truth within the Word, 2803, 2813, 3704, 'the clouds' the literal sense. 'Power' has reference to the good and 'glory' to the truth present there. For this meaning of 'seeing the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven', see Preface to Genesis 18. This is the kind of coming of the Lord that is meant here, not a literal manifestation of Him in clouds. Next follows a reference to the establishment of a new Church, which takes place once the old has been brought to ruin and cast aside.

[8] He will send out His angels with a trumpet and a loud voice means election - not by visible angels, still less by trumpets and by loud voices, but by an influx of holy good and of holy truth from the Lord through angels, so that the expression 'angels' in the Word means something essentially the Lord's, 1925, 2821, 3039. In this instance it means things which come from the Lord and have reference to the Lord. 'A trumpet and a loud voice' means the proclamation of the Gospel, as in other places in the Word.

[9] And they will gather the elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other end of them means the establishment of a new Church, 'the elect' being people in whom the good of love and faith dwell, 3755 (end), 3900, 'the four winds' from which they will be gathered being all states of good and truth, 3708, and 'one end of the heavens to the other' the internal and the external features of the Church. These are the considerations that are meant by these words spoken by the Lord.

Genesis 31
1. And he 1 heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob has taken all that belonged to our father, and from what belonged to our father he has gained all this wealth.
2. And Jacob saw Laban's face, and behold, he was not at all friendly towards him as before. 2
3. And Jehovah said to Jacob, Return to the land of your fathers, and to [the place of] your nativity, and I will be with you.
4. And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flock.
5. And he said to them, I see your father's face, that it is not at all friendly towards me as before; 3 and the God of my father has been with me.
6. And you yourselves know that with all my strength I have served your father.
7. And your father has deceived me, and has changed my wages in ten ways, and God has not allowed him to do evil to me.
8. If he said thus: The speckled will be your wages, then all the flocks bore speckled. And if he said thus: The variegated will be your wages, then all the flocks bore variegated.
9. And God has taken away your father's cattle and given them to me.
10. And it happened, when the flock came on heat, that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the he-goats mounting the flock were variegated, speckled, and mottled.
11. And the angel of God said to me in the dream, Jacob. And I said, Behold, here I am.
12. And he said, Lift up now your eyes, and see all the he-goats mounting the flock, variegated, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen everything that Laban is doing to you.
13. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now rise up, go out of this land, and return to the land of your nativity.
14. And Rachel answered, and Leah, and they said to him, Is there still any portion and inheritance for us in our father's house?
15. Are we not considered strangers by him, for he has sold us, and also completely consumed our money? 4
16. For all the riches which God has snatched from our father belong to us and to our sons; and now do everything that God has told you.
17. And Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his womenfolk on camels.
18. And he brought away all his cattle and all his substance which he had gathered, the cattle 5 he had purchased, which he had gathered in Paddan Aram, to come to Isaac his father, to the land of Canaan.
19. And Laban had gone to shear his flock, and Rachel stole the teraphim which belonged to her father.
20. And Jacob stole the heart 6 of Laban the Aramean by not giving him any indication that he was fleeing.
21. And he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and crossed the river; and he set his face towards mount Gilead.
22. And it was told to Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled.
23. And he took his brothers with him and pursued him for seven days; 5 and he caught up with him on mount Gilead.
24. And God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night, and said to him, Take care not to speak to Jacob either good or evil. !
25. And Laban overtook Jacob, and Jacob pitched his tent in the mountain, and Laban pitched with his brothers in mount Gilead.
26. And Laban said to Jacob, What have you done, that you have stolen my heart, 6 and carried away my daughters like captives taken with the sword?
27. Why was it that you concealed your flight, and stole from me, and gave me no indication; for I might have sent you away with gladness and with songs, and with drums and with harps?
28. And you have not allowed me to kiss my sons and my daughters; now you have acted foolishly in what you have done.
29. Let my hand be for God to do you evil! And the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, Beware of speaking to Jacob either good or evil.
30. And now you have surely gone because you longed greatly for your father's house. But why did you steal my gods?
31. And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid; for I said, Perhaps you will take your daughters from me by force.
32. Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live in the presence of our brothers. Examine for yourself what is with me, and take them to yourself. And Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33. And Laban came into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the tent of both servant-girls, and did not find them. And he went out of Leah's tent and came into Rachel's tent.
34. And Rachel had taken the teraphim and put them in the camel's straw, and sat on them. And Laban felt around all the tent and did not find them.
35. And she said to her father, Let there not be any anger in my Lord's eyes, for I cannot rise up before you, for the way of women is upon me. And he searched and did not find the teraphim.
36. And Jacob was incensed and wrangled with Laban; and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my transgression, what is my sin, that you have hotly pursued after me?
37. Because you have felt around all my vessels, what have you found belonging to all the vessels of your house? Put it here in front of my brothers and your brothers, and let them decide between the two of us.
38. These twenty years I have been with you; your sheep and your she-goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flock.
39. That which was torn [by beasts] I did not bring to you; I myself bore the loss of it; from my hand you required it - that stolen by day and that stolen by night.
40. This is how I was: By day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night; and my sleep was banished from my eyes.
41. These twenty years I have served you in your house - fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock; and you have changed my wages in ten ways.
42. Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Dread of Isaac, had been with me, you would now have sent me away empty-handed. My affliction and the tiredness of my hands 8 God has seen, and has given judgement last night.
43. And Laban answered and said to Jacob, The daughters are my daughters, and the sons are my sons, and the flock is my flock, and all that you see is mine. And for my daughters, what am I to do for them today, or for their sons whom they have borne?
44. And now come, let us make a covenant, I and you, and let it be a witness between me and you.
45. And Jacob took a stone and erected it as a pillar.
46. And Jacob said to his brothers, Gather stones; and they took stones and made a heap; and they ate there upon the heap.
47. And Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha; and Jacob called it Galeed.
48. And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and you today; therefore he called its name Galeed -
49. And Mizpah, for he said, Let Jehovah watch between me and you, for we are going to be hidden from each other. 9
50. If you afflict my daughters, and if you take wives (femina) besides my daughters, after we have parted from each other 10 - see, God is witness between me and you.
51. And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold the pillar which I have erected between me and you.
52. This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this heap to you, and that you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, to do harm.
53. May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor judge 11 between us, the God of their father. And Jacob swore by the Dread of his father Isaac.
54. And Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his brothers to eat bread; and they ate bread and stayed the night in the mountain.
55. And in the morning Laban rose up early, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them; and Laban went and resumed to his place.

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Footnotes:

1. i.e. Jacob

2. literally, not at all with him as yesterday three days ago (an ancient way of describing the day before yesterday)

3. literally, not at all towards me as yesterday three days ago

4. or silver

5. literally, acquisition

6. i.e. he deceived or outwitted Laban

7. literally, pursued him a way of seven days

8. literally, palms

9. literally, a man from his companion

10. literally, no man being with us

11. The verb rendered may judge here is plural.

-----

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3755-3900; Exodus 19:18; Genesis 18:1)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 4229, 4236, 4288, 4300, 4391, 4493, 4503, 4535, 4592, 4696, 4697, 4735, 4779, 4918, 5044, 5313, 5403, 5440, 5514, 5585, 6000, 6015, 6240, 6335, 6397, 6417, 6446, 6534, 6640, 6693, 6700, 6752, 6832, 6895, 7173, 7233, 7830, 7833, ...

The White Horse 11

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1, 49, 121, 246, 248, 260, 310


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 36, 39, 63, 64, 163, 208, 229, 253, 270, 272, 330, 365, 418, 433

Other New Christian Commentary

Extremity, the, of the heavens 1


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


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