The Bible

 

Genesis 1

English: King James Version         

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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
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

Other 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

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.

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

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
'Waters,' 'rivers,' and 'depths,' as in Psalm 78:15-16, signify truths from the Lord.

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...

second
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...

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

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...

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
'Stars' signify the knowledge of truth and good. 'Stars' are frequently mentioned in the Word, and always signify goods and truths, but in an opposite...

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
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.

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,...

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

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

female
Female signifies good.

meat
'Provision' or 'meat,' as in Genesis 42:25 and Psalm 78:25, signifies support from truth and good.

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 #893

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

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893. Verse 13 And it happened in the six hundred and first year, at the beginning, on the first of the month, that the waters dried up from over the earth, and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and saw out, and behold, the face 1 of the ground was dry.

'It happened in the six hundred and first year' means a finishing point. 'At the beginning, on the first of the month' means a starting point. 'The waters dried up from over the earth' means that falsities were not at that time apparent. 'And Noah removed the covering of the ark, and saw out' means the light, once falsities had been removed, shed by the truths of faith, which he acknowledged and in which he had faith. 'And behold, the face 1 of the ground was dry' means regeneration.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, the faces

[893a] 1 That 'it happened in the six hundred and first year means a finishing point is clear from the meaning of the number six hundred, dealt with at Chapter 7:6, in 737, as a beginning, and in particular in that verse as the beginning of temptation. The end of it is specified by the same number, with a whole year having now passed by. It took place therefore at the end of a year, and this also is why the words are added 'at the beginning, on the first of the month', meaning a starting point. In the Word any complete period is specified either by a day, or a week, or a month, or a year, and even by a hundred or a thousand years - for example, 'the days' mentioned in Genesis 1, which meant stages in the regeneration of the member of the Most Ancient Church. For in the internal sense day and year mean nothing else than a period of time; and meaning a period of time they also mean a state. Consequently a year stands in the Word for a period of time and for a state, as in Isaiah,

To proclaim the year of Jehovah's good pleasure, and the day of vengeance for our God; to comfort all who mourn. Isaiah 61:2.

This refers to the Lord's Coming. In the same prophet,

The day of vengeance was in My heart, and the year of My redeemed had come. Isaiah 63:4.

Here too 'day' and 'year' stand for a period of time and for a state. In Habakkuk,

Your work, O Jehovah, in the midst of the years make it live, in the midst of the years do You make it known. Habakkuk 3:2.

Here 'years' stands for a period of time and for a state. In David,

'You are God Himself, and Your years have no end. Psalms 102:27.

This statement, in which 'years' stands for periods of time, means that time does not exist with God. The same applies in the present verse where 'the year' of the flood in no way means any one particular year but a period of time that is not determined by a specific number of years. At the same time it means a state. See what has been said already about 'years' in 482, 487, 488, 493.

1. This paragraph is not numbered in the Latin.

-----

(References: Arcana Coelestia 487-488, Genesis 7:6)


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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 1332, 1988, 2075, 2103, 2109, 2111, 2199, 2213, 2636, 2649, 2726, 2788, 2838, 3016, 3176, 3251, 3281, 3298, 3390, 3405, 3419, 3462, 3469, 3498, 3703, 3785, 3824, 3827, 3830, 3941, 4010, 4060, 4168, 4283, 4334, 4387, 4548, 4616, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 137

Other New Christian Commentary

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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #10132

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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10132. 'Lambs, the sons of a year, each day' means the good of innocence in every state. This is clear from the meaning of 'lambs' as the good of innocence, dealt with below; from the meaning of 'the sons of a year' as a form of it that is child-like but has truths implanted in it, also dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'each day' as in every state. For 'a day' means a state, and 'the morning' and 'the evening' of a day, when the burnt offerings of lambs were presented, mean every state.

'A day' means a state, see 893, 2788, 3462, 3785, 4850, 7680.

Changes of states are like the changes in a day of morning, midday, evening, night, and morning again, 5672, 5962, 6110, 8426.

[2] The fact that the good of innocence is meant by 'lambs' is clear from places in the Word where 'lambs' are mentioned, as in Isaiah,

The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child will lead them. A suckling will play over the viper's hole, and a weaned child will put out his hand onto the basilisk's den. They will not corrupt themselves on all My holy mountain. And it will happen on that day, that the nations will seek the root of Jesse, who is standing as an ensign of the peoples; and His rest will be glory. Isaiah 11:6, 8-10.

These words describe the state of peace and innocence in the heavens and in the Church after the Lord came into the world. And because a state of peace and innocence is being described the lamb, kid, and calf are mentioned, also a little child, suckling, and weaned child, every one of which means the good of innocence. Inmost good of innocence is meant by 'the lamb', interior good of innocence by 'the kid', and exterior good of innocence by 'the calf'; and these three degrees of good are likewise meant by 'a child', 'a suckling', and 'a weaned one'. 'The holy mountain' is heaven and the Church where the good of innocence resides; 'the nations' are those who have that good within them; and 'the root of Jesse' is the Lord, who is the source of that good. For the good of love coming from Him and offered back to Him, also called celestial good, constitutes the good of innocence.

[3] 'The lamb' means the good of innocence in general, and the inmost good of innocence in particular. This is clear from the fact that it is mentioned first, and also from the fact that the Lord Himself is referred to as the Lamb, as will be seen below.

'The kid' means the interior good of innocence, see 3519, 4871.

'The calf (or young bull)' means the exterior good of innocence, 430, 9391.

'A child' means innocence, 5236, as do 'a suckling', 'a weaned child', that is, an infant, 430, 2280, 3183, 3494, 5608.

'The holy mountain' is where the good of love to the Lord resides, 6435, 8758.

'The nations' means those who have that good within them, 1416, 6005.

That the good of love to the Lord, called celestial good, constitutes the good of innocence is clear from those who are in the inmost heaven. Because they have that good within them they appear naked, as young children; they do so because nakedness depicts innocence, as does early childhood, see the places referred to in 9277, and what has been stated in 3887, 9680.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9262)


[4] It says that 'the wolf will dwell with the lamb' because 'the wolf' means those who are opposed to innocence, as also in the same prophet,

The wolf and the lamb will feed together. They will not do evil nor destroy on all My holy mountain. Isaiah 65:25.

And in Luke,

Jesus said to the disciples whom He sent out, Behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Luke 10:3.

[5] Since the Lord when He was in the world was - as to His Human - Innocence itself, and since for this reason innocence emanates wholly from Him, the Lord is called the Lamb, and the Lamb of God, as in Isaiah,

Send the Lamb of the Ruler of the land from the rock towards the wilderness, to the mountain of the daughter of Zion. Isaiah 16:1.

In the same prophet,

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. He is led like a lamb to the slaughter. Isaiah 53:7.

In John,

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming; he said, Behold, the Lamb of God who bears away the sin of the world. John 1:29, 36.

In Revelation,

The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will feed them and will guide them to living springs of water. Revelation 7:17.

And elsewhere in the same book,

These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins; these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were bought from men (homo), being the firstfruits to God and the Lamb. Revelation 14:4.

And many times elsewhere in Revelation besides these two places, such as Revelation 5:6, 8, 12-13; 6:1, 16; 7:9-10, 14; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7, 9; 21:9, 14, 22-23, 27; 22:1, 3.

(References: Revelation 21:26)


[6] It was because those who possess innocence are meant by 'lambs' that the Lord first told Peter Feed My lambs, then afterwards Feed My sheep, and again, Feed My sheep, John 21:15-17. 'Lambs' in this instance are those who are governed by the good of love to the Lord, for they possess the good of innocence more than all others, whereas 'sheep' are those governed by the good of charity towards the neighbour and those governed by the good of faith.

[7] The word 'lambs' is used with a similar meaning in Isaiah,

Behold, the Lord Jehovih comes with might, and His arm exercises dominion for Him. He will pasture His flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs into His arm, He will carry them in His bosom, He will gently lead the sucklings 1 . Isaiah 40:10-11.

These verses refer, it is evident, to the Lord. Since those who are governed by love to Him and who for this reason possess the good of innocence are meant by 'lambs' it is said that 'He will gather them into His arm' and 'He will carry them in His bosom'. For these people are joined to the Lord through love, and love is spiritual togetherness. And this also is why those verses go on to say, 'He will gently lead the sucklings', for sucklings and young children are those who possess the good of innocence, 430, 2280, 3183, 3494.

[8] From all this one may now see what the burnt offerings and sacrifices of lambs mean, why they were offered each day, on each sabbath, at each new moon, at each feast, and every day during the feast of Passover, and why at the feast of Passover the lamb called the Passover lamb was eaten, spoken of as follows in Moses,

This month shall be for you the head of months; the first shall it be for you in respect of months of the year. You shall take a member of the flock, a male, from the lambs or from the kids. And they shall take some of the blood and put it onto the [two] doorposts and onto the lintel, and onto the houses in which they will eat it. They shall not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted with fire. Exodus 12:1ff.

The feast of Passover was a sign of the deliverance from damnation of those who receive the Lord in love and faith, 9286-9292, thus who possess the good of innocence; for the good of innocence is inmostly present in love and faith and is their soul. This is why it says that they were to put the animal's blood onto doorposts, lintel, and houses; for where the good of innocence is, hell cannot come in. The reason why they were to eat it roasted with fire was that this was a sign of the good of celestial love, which is the good of love to the Lord received from the Lord.

(References: Exodus 12:2-3, Exodus 12:5, 12:7, 12:7-9, Exodus 12:9)


[9] Because a lamb was a sign of innocence, when the days [of purification] after giving birth had been fulfilled a lamb, the son of a year 2 was offered as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or else a turtledove was offered as a sacrifice, Leviticus 12:6. The young pigeon or the turtledove was a sign of innocence, just as the lamb was. By 'giving birth' is meant in the spiritual sense the Church's giving birth, giving birth to the good of love; for no other kind of birth is thought of in heaven. And by the burnt offering and sacrifice of those creatures is meant purification from evils by means of the good of innocence; for this good is what the Divine flows into and uses to effect such purification.

[10] The reason why someone who sinned through error had to offer a lamb or a a female kid, or two turtledoves, or two young pigeons as a guilt-offering, Leviticus 5:1-13, was that 'sin through error' is sin owing to lack of knowledge, and if the lack of knowledge has innocence within it purification takes place. Regarding a Nazirite also it says that when he had completed his Naziriteship he had to offer a lamb, the son of a year 2 , as a burnt offering, a ewe lamb, the daughter of a year 2 , as a sin-sacrifice, and one ram as a eucharistic sacrifice, and also a basket of unleavened bread, cakes mixed with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, Numbers 6:13-15. All these - the lamb, ewe lamb, ram, unleavened bread, cakes, wafers, and oil - mean celestial things, that is, aspects of love to the Lord received from the Lord. The reason why they were offered as a sacrifice by a Nazirite after the days of his Naziriteship had been fulfilled was that a Nazirite represented the celestial man, or the Lord in respect of the Divine Celestial, 3301, the Divine Celestial being what is Divine and the Lord's in the inmost heaven, and what is Divine there being innocence.

[11] From all this it may be recognized that 'a lamb' means the good of innocence, for all beasts that were sacrificed meant some aspect of the Church. It may be recognized primarily from the fact that the Lord Himself is called the Lamb, as is clear from the places referred to above; also that those people are called 'lambs' who love the Lord, as in Isaiah 40:10-11, and in John 21:15; and in addition that upright people are called 'sheep', for example in Matthew 15:21-29; 25:31-41; 26:31; John 10:7-16, 26-31; 21:16-17, and elsewhere, while bad people are called 'goats', Matthew 25:32; Zechariah 10:3; Daniel 8:5-11, 25. All useful and gentle beasts mean good affections and inclinations, while useless and savage ones mean evil affections and inclinations, see the places referred to in 9280.

(References: Matthew 25:31, 25:31-32, 25:31-40)


[12] The good of innocence is meant not only by 'a lamb' but also by 'a ram' and by 'a young bull'. But the difference is that the inmost good of innocence is meant by 'a lamb', interior or middle good of innocence by 'a ram', and external good of innocence by 'a young bull'; for a person has an external level, an internal level, and an inmost level, on each of which the good of innocence must be present if the person is to be regenerate, the good of innocence being the very essence of all good. Because those three degrees of innocence are meant by a young bull, a ram, and a lamb, these three animals were offered as a sacrifice and a burnt offering whenever purification by means of that good was represented. That is, they were offered at each new moon, at feasts, on the day of firstfruits, and when the altar was consecrated, as is evident in Numbers 7:15, 21, 27, 33ff; Numbers 28:1-end; Numbers 28:29:1-end. For the meaning of 'a young bull' as the external good of innocence, 29:see9391, 9990, and that of 'a ram' as the internal good of innocence, 10042. As regards what innocence is, what it is like with young children, what it is like with the simple lacking in knowledge, and what it is like with the wise, see the places referred to in 10021(end).

(References: Numbers 7:38, 28, 29)


[13] When it says that the lamb to be offered as a burnt offering had to be 'the son of a year', the meaning was that then it was a lamb; for when it was more than a year old it was a sheep. And since a lamb was so to speak an infant sheep, the kind of good that belongs to infancy or early childhood, which is the good of innocence, was meant by it. This also was why lambs were offered as a burnt offering in the first month of the year, when the Passover was celebrated, Exodus 12:2ff, Numbers 28:16, 19; on the day of firstfruits, Numbers 28:26-27; and on the day on which the sheaf was waved, Leviticus 23:11-12. For by the first month of the year, the day of firstfruits, and the day of waving the sheaf the state of early childhood, and so the state of innocence, was also meant.

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Footnotes:

1. The Latin word here is lactentes (sucklings). When the word has occurred in previous quotations of the verse it has been assumed, in the light of the Hebrew, that lactantes (those giving suck) was intended.

2. i.e. in its first year

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(References: Exodus 12:2-3, 12:5, Exodus 12:7-9)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10134, 10137, 10210, 10407


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 9, 67, 314

Other New Christian Commentary

Roasted 1

Kid 1

Lamb 1

Turpentine-nut 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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


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