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 #9340

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

9340. 'And I will set your boundary from the Sea Suph even to the Sea of the Philistines' means the full range of truths from factual ones to interior truths of faith. This is clear from the meaning of 'setting the boundary from one place to another', when it refers to spiritual truths, as the full range; from the meaning of 'the Sea Suph' as truths on the levels of the senses and of factual knowledge, which are the lowest levels of the human mind (the Sea Suph was the final boundary of the land of Egypt, and 'Egypt' means factual knowledge in both senses, that is, true factual knowledge and false, 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, 2588, 4749, 4964, 4966, 5700, 6004, 6015, 6125, 6651, 6679, 6683, 6692, 6750, 7779 (end), 7926, 8146, 8148; in this instance true factual knowledge is meant since the subject is the full range of spiritual matters of faith among the children of Israel, who represented the spiritual Church, 4286, 4598, 6426, 6637, 6862, 6868, 7035, 7062, 7198, 7201, 7215, 7223, 8805); and from the meaning of 'the Sea of the Philistines' as interior truths of faith. The reason why these truths are meant by 'the Sea of the Philistines' is that the sea where Tyre and Sidon lay was the boundary of the land of Philistia, and 'Tyre and Sidon' means cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, 1201, while 'the land of Philistia' means the knowledge of interior matters of faith, 1197, 2504, 2726, 3463.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165)


[2] Since 'the land of Canaan' represented the Lord's kingdom, which is heaven and the Church, all places in the land therefore meant such things as form part of the Lord's kingdom, or heaven and the Church, which things are called celestial and spiritual, and are connected with the good of love to the Lord and the truths of faith in Him. For this reason the seas and rivers which were boundaries meant the final limits there, and therefore 'from sea to sea' or 'from river to river' meant the full range of those things, as may be seen in 1585, 1866, 4116, 4240, 6516. From all this it becomes clear that 'the boundary from the Sea Suph even to the Sea of the Philistines' means the range of spiritual things, which are matters of truth, from external ones to internal, thus truths ranging from factual ones to interior truths of faith. But the range of celestial things, which are aspects of the good of love, is described next by the words 'from the wilderness even to the River'. The fact that places belonging to the land of Canaan, including seas and rivers, mean such things in the Word, has been shown in explanations everywhere.

[3] What the full range of truths from factual ones to interior truths of faith is must be stated briefly. Truths which exist in the external man are called factual ones, but truths which exist in the internal man are called interior truths of faith. Factual truths reside in a person's memory, and when they are brought out from there they pass into the person's immediate awareness. But interior truths of faith are truths of life itself which are inscribed on the internal man, but few of which show up in the memory. These however are matters which will in the Lord's Divine mercy be spoken of more fully elsewhere. Factual truths and interior truths of faith were meant in Genesis 1:6-7 by the waters under the expanse and the waters above the expanse, 24; for the first chapter of Genesis deals in the internal sense with the new creation or the regeneration of a member of the celestial Church.

(References: Genesis 1:1)


[4] The reason why 'Philistia', which also bordered on the land of Canaan as far as Tyre and Sidon, meant the interior truths of faith was that there also the representative Ancient Church had existed, as is evident from the remnants of Divine worship among them which are alluded to in historical sections and prophetical parts of the Word in which the Philistines and the land of Philistia are the subject, such as - in the prophetical parts - Jeremiah 25:20; Jeremiah 47:1-end; Jeremiah 47:Ezekiel 16:27, 57; 25:15-16; Amos 1:8; Zephaniah 2:5; Zechariah 9:6; Psalms 56:1; 1 60:8; 83:7; 108:9. The situation with the Philistines was the same as it was with all the nations in the land of Canaan, in that they represented the Church's forms of good and its truths, and also evils and falsities. When the representative Ancient Church existed among them they represented celestial things which were aspects of good and spiritual things which were matters of truth. But when they fell away from true representative worship they began to represent devilish things which were aspects of evil and hellish things which were matters of falsity. This is the reason why 'Philistia', like all the other nations belonging to the land of Canaan in the Word, means either forms of good and truths, or else evils and falsities.

[5] The fact that interior truths of faith are meant by 'the Philistines' is clear in David,

Glorious things are to be spoken in you, O city of God. I will mention Rahab and Babel among those who know Me; also Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia. The latter was born here. 2 Psalms 87:3-4.

'The city of God' means teachings presenting the truth of faith that are drawn from the Word, 402, 2268, 2449, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493, 5297; 'Tyre' means cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, 1201, and so does 'Ethiopia', 116, 117. From this it is evident that 'Philistia' means knowledge of the truths of faith.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493)


[6] In Amos,

Are you not like the children of the Ethiopians to Me, O children of Israel? Did I not cause Israel to come up from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? Amos 9:7.

This refers to the corruption and destruction of the Church after it had been established. 'The children of the Ethiopians' here are those in possession of cognitions of goodness and truth, which they use to substantiate evils and falsities, 1163, 1164. 'The children of Israel from the land of Egypt' are those who had been brought to spiritual truths and forms of good by means of factual truths, 'the children of Israel' being people in possession of spiritual truths and forms of good, thus in the abstract sense spiritual truths and forms of good, see 5414, 5801, 5803, 5806, 5812, 5817, 5819, 5826, 5833, 5879, 5951, 7957, 8234, and 'the land of Egypt' being factual truth, as shown above. The same is meant by 'the Philistines from Caphtor' and by 'the Syrians from Kir', to whom they are therefore likened. 'The Philistines from Caphtor' are people who had been brought to interior truths by means of exterior ones, but who perverted them and used them to substantiate falsities and evils, 1197, 1198, 3412, 3413, 3762, 8093, 8096, 8099, 8313, whereas 'the Syrians from Kir' are those who were in possession of cognitions of goodness and truth, which they likewise perverted, 1232, 1234, 3051, 3249, 3664, 3680, 4112.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1163-1164, Arcana Coelestia 1197-1198, 3412-3413)


[7] In Jeremiah,

... because of the day that is coming to lay waste all the Philistines, to cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper that is left, for Jehovah is laying waste the Philistines, the remnants of the island of Caphtor. Jeremiah 47:4.

The subject in Jeremiah 47 is the laying waste of the Church's truths of faith, interior truths of faith being meant by 'the Philistines' and exterior truths by 'the remnants of the island of Caphtor'.

[8] In Joel,

What have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the borders of Philistia? Swiftly I will return your recompense upon your own head, inasmuch as you have taken My silver and My gold, and My good and desirable treasures you have carried into your temples. Joel 3:4-5.

'All the borders of Philistia' stands for all the interior and the exterior truths of faith; 'carrying silver and gold, and good and desirable treasures into their temples' stands for perverting truths and forms of good, and profaning them by putting them together with evils and falsities. For the meaning of 'silver and gold' as truths and forms of good, see 1551, 2954, 5658, 6112, 6914, 6917, 8932.

(References: Joel 3:4, 3:6)


[9] In Obadiah,

At that time those in the south will be the heirs of the mountain of Esau, and of the plain of the Philistines, and they will become the heirs of the field of Ephraim; but Benjamin [will be the heir] of Gilead. Obad. verse 19.

This refers to the establishment of the Church; but spiritual things are implied by the names. 'Those in the south' are people who dwell in the light of truth, 1458, 3195, 3708, 5672, 5962; 'the mountain of Esau' is the good of love, 3300, 3322, 3494, 3504, 3576; 'the plain of the Philistines' is the truth of faith, 'the plain' being also that which constitutes matters of doctrine about faith, 2418; 'Ephraim' is the Church's power of understanding, 3969, 5354, 6222, 6234, 6238, 6267; 'Benjamin' is the Church's spiritual-celestial truth, 3969, 4592, 5686, 5689, 6440; and 'Gilead' is the corresponding exterior good, 4117, 4124, 4747.

(References: Obadiah 1:19)


[10] In Isaiah,

He will gather the outcasts of Israel, and will assemble the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. They will fly down onto the shoulder of the Philistines towards the sea, together they will plunder the sons of the east. Isaiah 11:12, 14.

Here 'Israel' and 'Judah' are not used to mean Israel and Judah; rather, 'Israel' means those who are governed by the good of faith, and 'Judah' those who are governed by the good of love. 'Flying down onto the shoulder of the Philistines' stands for receiving and taking into possession interior truths of faith; and 'plundering the sons of the east' stands for receiving and taking into possession interior forms of the good of faith, for 'the sons of the east' are people who are governed by forms of the good of faith and with whom cognitions or knowledge of good exists, 3249. 3762. For the meaning of 'plundering' as receiving and taking into possession, see what has been shown in 6914, 6917, regarding the plundering of the Egyptians by the children of Israel.

[11] Since 'the land of Philistia' meant knowledge of the interior truths of faith, and since Abraham and Isaac represented the Lord, and the sojourning of these two in places meant instruction received by the Lord in the truths and forms of the good of faith and love, which belong to God's wisdom, therefore - to provide a figurative representation of this - Abraham was commanded to sojourn in Philistia, Genesis 20:1-end, and so too was Isaac, Genesis 26:1-24. Therefore also Abimelech king of the Philistines made a covenant with Abraham, Genesis 21:22-end, and also with Isaac, Genesis 26:26-end. Regarding all this, see the explanations to those chapters.

-----
Footnotes:

1. i.e. in the superscription or heading of this Psalm

2. i.e. in the city of God, see 1164:7.

-----

(References: Exodus 23:31; Genesis 20, 21:22-24, 21:22-34, 26:26-35)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9341, 9346, 9348, 9384, 9390, 9404, 9458, 9525, 9755, 9779, 9789, 9808, 9818, 9842, 10038, 10095, 10144, 10148, 10153, 10156, 10212, 10216, 10229, 10231, 10248, 10280, 10283, 10284, 10355, 10370, 10372, 10400, 10416, 10442, 10732

The White Horse 8


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 140, 195, 235, 240, 278, 340, 386, 388, 573, 946

Other New Christian Commentary

Kaphtor 1

Kir 1


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

From Swedenborg's Works

Apocalypse Explained #340

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

Study this Passage

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous    Next →

340. And blessing. That this signifies acknowledgment and glorification of the Lord on account of those things, and thanksgiving that from Him are all good and truth, and thence heaven and eternal happiness to those who receive them, is clear from the signification of blessing when it is said concerning the Lord, as denoting acknowledgment, here the acknowledgment that to Him belong Omnipotence, Omniscience, Providence, Divine good, and Divine truth, these being signified by His being worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom, honour, and glory, and also glorification on that account. Moreover, blessing, when said of the Lord, signifies thanksgiving that from Him is all the good of love and the truth of faith, and thence heaven and eternal happiness to those who receive them. Because acknowledgment and glorification on account of those things, and also thanksgiving, are here signified by blessing, therefore, it is said, in the last place or as a fitting end, by those angels who glorified the Lord. Those things are signified by blessing when said of the Lord, because nothing is a blessing but what is given by the Lord, for that alone is blessed, because it is Divine and eternal, and contains in itself heaven and eternal happiness; all other things, which have not in themselves what is Divine and eternal, are not a blessing, although they may be so called (see the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 269, 270).

(References: Revelation 5:12; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 269-270)


[2] That blessing, when it is mentioned in the Word, signifies such things, is evident from the passages there understood in the internal sense. But first some passages shall be adduced, in which blessed and blessing are spoken of Jehovah, that is, of the Lord, and where it is said, blessed be God, in order that it may be seen that these signify acknowledgment, glorification, and thanksgiving, that from Him are all good and truth, and thence heaven and eternal happiness to those who receive them. In Luke:

"The mouth" of Zacharias "was opened and he spake, blessing God." And he said, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and made redemption for his people" (i. 64, 67, 68).

Zacharias said this when, filled with the Spirit, he prophesied concerning the Lord; and by blessing God, and by, "blessed be the Lord God of Israel," are signified glorification and thanksgiving that He delivers and frees from hell those who receive Him. It is, therefore, also said, "for he hath visited and made redemption for his people Israel." By redemption is signified liberation from hell, and by His people are signified those who are in truths from good, thus those who receive Him. That by redemption is signified liberation and deliverance from hell, may be seen above, n. 328; and that by people are signified those who are in truths from good, may be seen above, n. 331.

(References: Luke 1:64, 1:67-68, 1:68; The Apocalypse Explained 328, 331)


[3] In the same:

Simeon took the infant Jesus in his arms, "and blessed God; and said, Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples" (ii. 28-31).

Here, to bless God manifestly means, to glorify and give thanks that the Lord came into the world to save all who receive Him; therefore he calls the Lord the salvation which his eyes saw, which is prepared for all people. They are called His people who are in truths from good, thus who thereby receive Him, as was said above.

(References: Luke 2:28-31, 2:28, Luke 2:30-31; Matthew 5:28)


[4] In David:

"They have seen thy goings, O God. The singers went before, the players on instruments after, in the midst of the virgins playing with timbrels. Bless ye God in the congregations, the Lord from the fountain of salvation" (Ps. lxviii. 24-26).

To bless God in the congregations, the Lord from the fountain of salvation, signifies to glorify the Lord from spiritual truths, which are truths from good. By congregations in the Word are signified the same as by people, namely, those who are in spiritual truths, and, abstractedly, those truths themselves; and by the fountain of salvation is signified spiritual good, because thereby is salvation. Spiritual good is the good of charity towards the neighbour, and spiritual truth is the truth of faith from that good. (That congregations in the Word are predicated of spiritual truths, may be seen, n. 6355, 7843.) Because by blessing in the congregations is signified glorification from spiritual truths, and by blessing from the fountain of salvation is signified [glorification] from spiritual good, therefore God is said of the former, and Lord of the latter; for God is mentioned in the Word, where truths are treated of, and Jehovah and Lord, where good is treated of. That glorification is meant by blessing, is clear from what immediately follows after these words, "The singers went before, the players on instruments after, in the midst of the virgins playing with timbrels," by which glorification is signified from spiritual truths and goods (as may be seen above, n. 323, 326).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6355, Arcana Coelestia 7843; Psalms 68:24-26; The Apocalypse Explained 323, The Apocalypse Explained 326)


[5] In the same:

"O sing unto Jehovah a new song; sing unto Jehovah, all the earth. Bless his name; proclaim his salvation from day to day. Recount his glory among the nations" (Ps. xcvi. 1-3).

That to bless Jehovah here denotes to glorify Him, and to give thanks unto Him, is plain; and because all glorification of Him is from spiritual truths and from spiritual good, therefore, it is said, "bless his name, proclaim his salvation from day to day"; name also is said of truths, and salvation of good. To sing a song signifies to glorify from those truths and from that good, as may be seen above, n. 323, 326.

(References: Psalms 96:1-3; The Apocalypse Explained 323, 326)


[6] In Moses:

Jehovah chose the sons of Levi, "to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of Jehovah" (Deut. x. 8; xxi. 5).

Because the sons of Levi were appointed for Divine worship, and all Divine worship takes place from spiritual good and the truths thence, therefore, it is said that Jehovah chose them "to minister unto him, and to bless in his name"; and by ministering is signified worship from spiritual good, and by blessing is signified worship from spiritual truths. That to minister is said of worship from good, may be seen above, n. 155.

(References: Deuteronomy 10:8, 21:5; The Apocalypse Explained 155)


[7] In David:

"O Jehovah, thou hast prevented the King with the blessings of good; thou hast set a crown of pure gold on his head. Thou layest glory and honour upon him. For thou placest upon him blessings for ever" (Ps. xxi. 1, 3, 5, 6).

By the King here is not meant David, but the Lord, who is called King from the Divine Spiritual which proceeds from His Divine Human. And because blessing signifies acknowledgment, glorification, and thanksgiving, that all good and truth, and thence heaven and eternal happiness, are from Him, it is hence plain what is signified by, "Thou hast prevented the King with the blessings of good," and by, "thou placest upon him blessings for ever." Blessings of good signify truths from good; a crown of pure gold signifies the good from which these are; honour and glory signify the Divine good and the Divine truth. (That by David in the Word is meant the Lord, may be seen above, n. 205, similarly by king, in the Psalms, n. 31; that by the crown of kings is signified the Divine good, n. 272, similarly by gold, n. 242; and that by honour and glory are signified the Divine good and the Divine truth, n. 288.)

(References: Psalms 21:1, 21:3, 21:5-6; The Apocalypse Explained 31, The Apocalypse Explained 205, The Apocalypse Explained 242, 272, The Apocalypse Explained 288)


[8] From these considerations it is evident what blessed signifies when said of the Lord, as in the following passages:

The disciples cried with a great voice, "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Luke xix. 37, 38).

The multitude cried, "Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. xxi. 9; Mark xi. 9, 10; John xii. 12, 13).

Jesus said, "Ye shall not see me henceforth, until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. xxiii. 38, 39; Luke xiii. 35).

"The High Priest asked Jesus, Art thou then the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" (Mark xiv. 61).

Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, signifies glorified, because from Him are all Divine truth and Divine good. The name of the Lord signifies everything by which He is worshipped; and because all that has reference to the good of love and to the truth of faith, therefore, these things are signified by the name of the Lord. (That the Lord's name signifies everything by which He is worshipped, may be seen above (n. 102, 135, 148, 224); and that the Lord is called Lord from the Divine Good, in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 4973, 9167, 9194).)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4973, Arcana Coelestia 9167, 9194; John 12:12-13; Luke 13:35, 19:37-38, 19:37, 19:38; Mark 11:9-10, Mark 14:61; Matthew 21:9, 23:39; The Apocalypse Explained 102, The Apocalypse Explained 135, 148, The Apocalypse Explained 224)


[9] In Moses:

Melchizedek blessed Abram, and said, "Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be the most high God, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand" (Gen. xiv. 18-20).

Here it is said, "Blessed be the most high God, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand," and it signifies that glorification and thanksgiving are His on that account. Those, therefore, who receive Divine good and Divine truth from the Lord, are called

"Blessed" (Ps. xxxvii. 22; cxv. 15; Matt. xxv. 34).

(References: Genesis 14:18-20; Matthew 25:34; Psalms 37:22, Psalms 115:15)


[10] That by blessing when said of man, is meant nothing else but the reception of Divine truth and Divine good, because in them are heaven and eternal happiness, is evident from the following passages:

In David:

"The clean in hands and the pure in heart shall bear the blessing from before Jehovah, and justice from the God of our salvation" (Ps. xxiv. 4, 5).

He that is clean in hands signifies those who are in truths from faith, and the pure in heart those who are in good from love; concerning such it is said that they shall bear the blessing from before Jehovah, and justice from the God of salvation, and by bearing the blessing is signified the reception of Divine truth and by bearing justice the reception of Divine good. That justice is predicated of good, may be seen above, n. 204; and in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 2235, 9857.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2235, Arcana Coelestia 9857; Psalms 24:4-5; The Apocalypse Explained 204)


[11] In Moses:

"Thus shall ye bless the sons of Israel, Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee; Jehovah make his faces to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; Jehovah lift up his faces upon thee, and give thee peace. Thus shall they put my name upon the sons of Israel; and I will bless them" (Num. vi. 23-27).

From these words unfolded by the internal sense it is evident what blessing involves in summary; namely, that Jehovah, that is, the Lord from the Divine love, flows in with Divine truth and with Divine good with those who receive Him. The Divine love, from which the Lord flows in, is meant by the faces of Jehovah; the Divine truth, with which the Lord flows in, is meant by, "Jehovah make his faces to shine upon thee"; and the Divine good, with which He flows in, is meant by, "Jehovah lift up his faces upon thee"; protection from evils and falsities, which otherwise would take away the influx, is meant by, "keep thee and be gracious unto thee"; heaven and eternal happiness, which the Lord gives by His Divine truth and His Divine good, are meant by, give thee peace; communication and conjunction with those who receive Him, are meant by, "Thus shall they put my name upon the sons of Israel," the name of Jehovah signifying the Divine proceeding which, in general, is called Divine truth and Divine good, and the sons of Israel signifying those who are of the church, thus who receive [the Lord], concerning whom it is therefore said, and "I will bless them." That this is the internal or spiritual sense of these words is evident from this fact, that by the faces of Jehovah is signified the Divine love, by making them to shine is signified the influx of Divine truth, and by lifting them up the influx of Divine good; that these things may be better understood it shall be explained whence these significations arise. The Lord appears to the angels in heaven as a sun, for it is His Divine love which thus appears; this, therefore, is meant by the face of Jehovah; the light which thence proceeds is the Divine truth, this therefore is what is meant by making His faces to shine; the heat also which thence proceeds is the Divine good, this therefore is what is meant by lifting up His faces, for by lifting up is signified to reveal Himself, which is effected from the Divine good by means of the Divine truth. (That the Lord appears to the angels in heaven as a sun, and that such appearance is that of His Divine love, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 116-125; and that the light thence is the Divine truth, also that the heat thence is the Divine good, n. 126-140. That peace signifies the celestial delight which inmostly affects every good with blessedness, and that it thence signifies heaven and eternal happiness, may be seen in the same work, n. 284-290; and that the sons of Israel signify those who belong to the church, consequently, the church, in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 6426, 8805, 9340.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6426, Arcana Coelestia 8805, Arcana Coelestia 9340; Heaven and Hell 116-125; Numbers 6:23-27; The Apocalypse Explained 126-140, The Apocalypse Explained 284-290)


[12] In Ezekiel:

"I will give them the circuits of my hill [as] a blessing, and I will send down the rain in its time, there shall be rams of blessing; then the tree shall give its fruit, the earth shall give its produce" (xxxiv. 26, 27).

He who sees the Word merely in its natural sense, believes that such things only as are mentioned in that sense are meant by blessing, namely, that rain shall be given to make fruitful the gardens and fields, and so that the tree shall give its fruit, and the earth its produce; but it is a spiritual blessing which is meant, for by rain is signified everything Divine which flows in with man from the Lord out of heaven; that truths shall produce good, and that good shall produce truths, is signified by, the tree shall give its fruit, and the earth its produce. The earth denotes the church, as does also a garden in which there are trees; by these, and by the circuits of My hill which I shall give as a blessing, are signified the internal and external with the men of the church; a circuit signifies what is outside or below, and hill signifies what is within or above, specifically, where there is charity, for this is within. (That a hill signifies where charity is, may be seen, n. 6435, 10,438.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6435, Arcana Coelestia 10438; Ezekiel 34:26-27)


[13] In David:

"Blessed is every one that feareth Jehovah, that walketh in his ways. Thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands; blessed art thou, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house; thy sons like olive plants around thy tables. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that feareth Jehovah. Jehovah shall bless thee out of Zion; that thou mayest see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel" (Ps. cxxviii).

Here also by, to be blessed, is not meant to be blessed naturally, as that [a man] should eat the labour of his hands, that his wife should be fruitful, that many sons should be about his tables, and that this should be in Zion and in Jerusalem; but to be blessed spiritually is meant. For by them that fear Jehovah, are meant those who love to do His precepts; therefore it is said, blessed is he that feareth Jehovah, and walketh in His ways; to walk in His ways signifying to do His precepts. By the labour of his hands which he shall eat, is signified the study of the life according to them. By the wife by the sides of his house, is signified the affection of spiritual truth in all things that he thinks and does; therefore it is also said, "as a fruitful vine," for by a vine is signified the spiritual church from the affection of truth. By the sons around his tables are signified the truths of good thence; tables denoting instructions; therefore it is also said, "like olive-plants," the plants signifying truths, and the olives goods. By Zion is signified heaven whence those things are, and by Jerusalem doctrine. Hence it is evident what is signified by Jehovah shall bless thee out of Zion, that thou mayest see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. By peace upon Israel is signified all spiritual good in general and in particular, Israel denoting the church.

(References: Psalms 128)


[14] In the same:

"As the dew of Hermon that descendeth upon the mountains of Zion; for there hath Jehovah commanded a blessing, life even for evermore" (Ps. cxxxiii. 3).

The marriage of good and truth is here treated of, and their fructification and multiplication. The latter and the former are signified by, the dew of Hermon that descendeth upon the mountains of Zion, the mountains of Zion signifying where the goods of celestial love are; therefore it is also said, "there hath Jehovah commanded a blessing, life even for evermore."

(References: Psalms 133:3)


[15] In Moses:

"If ye hearken to these judgments, to keep and do them, Jehovah thy God shall keep the covenant and the mercy; and he will love thee, and bless thee, and will bless the fruit of thy belly, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy new wine, and thine oil, the young of thy oxen, and of the rams of thy flock. Thou shalt be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. And Jehovah will take away from you every disease, and all the evil sicknesses of Egypt, which thou hast known, he shall not lay upon thee; but will put them upon all that hate thee. And thou shalt consume all the peoples whom Jehovah thy God shall deliver to thee; thine eye shall not spare them" (Deut. vii. 12-16).

By all these words spiritual things are meant, thus spiritual blessings; the sense of the letter which is natural, and for those who are in the natural world, and thence in a natural idea, involving and signifying those things; therefore, from the spiritual sense of the Word it is evident what is meant by being blessed in general and in particular. By the fruit of the belly and by the fruit of the earth, by the corn, the new wine, and the oil, by the young of the oxen, and of the rams of the flock, are meant the multiplications of truth and the fructifications of good, thus spiritual blessings. (What is signified specifically by each may be seen in various places in the Arcana Coelestia, and in the explanations of this prophetic book.) There shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle, signifies the multiplication of truth and the fructification of good in the internal and the external man; and by Jehovah taking away from them every disease, and all the evil sicknesses of Egypt, is signified the removal of all evils and falsities; the evil sicknesses of Egypt denoting the falsities arising from evils in the natural man. The haters, upon whom Jehovah will put them, denote those who are against the goods and truths of the church. The dispersion of the evils and falsities that are opposed to the truths and goods of the church, is signified by, thou shalt consume all the peoples whom Jehovah thy God shall deliver to thee; and the continual shunning of them by, thine eye shall not spare them. That by these things those who do the Lord's precepts are blessed is meant by, "If ye hearken to these judgments, to keep and do them, Jehovah thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy; He will love thee, and bless thee." Covenant and mercy denote a conjunction from love by them; conjunction by good is meant by the covenant, and by, He will love thee; and conjunction by truth thence is meant by mercy, and by, He will bless thee.

(References: Deuteronomy 7:12-16; Luke 9:12-17)


[16] In the same:

"He shall bless thee with blessings of heaven from above, with blessings of the deep that lieth under, with blessings of the breasts and of the womb" (Gen. xlix. 25).

These things are said of Joseph, by whom is here signified the Lord's spiritual kingdom; and by the blessings of heaven from above are meant the multiplications of truth from good in the internal or spiritual man; by the blessings of the deep that lieth under, are meant the multiplications of truth from good in the external or natural man; and by blessings of the breasts and of the womb, are signified spiritual and celestial goods.

(References: Genesis 49:25)


[17] In Joel:

"Who knoweth? Let him return, and it will repent" Jehovah God "and he will leave behind him a blessing, a meat-offering and a drink-offering unto Jehovah our God" (ii 14).

Because by blessing is signified spiritual blessing, which in general has reference to good and truth proceeding from the Lord, and given to man, it is therefore said, he shall leave behind him a blessing, a meat-offering, and a drink-offering from our God. The meat-offering, which was bread, signifies good, and the drink-offering, which was wine, signifies truth, both from the Lord, for it is said, from our God.

(References: Joel 2:14)


[18] In Isaiah:

"In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt into Assyria, that the Assyrian may come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, that the Egyptians may serve with the Assyrian. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land; whom Jehovah shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance" (xix. 23-25).

By Israel, Assyria, and Egypt, are signified the three things that are with the men of the church, namely, the Spiritual, the Rational, and the Scientific; by Israel the Spiritual, by Assyria the Rational, and by Egypt the scientific. Inasmuch as the whole Rational of man is formed by scientifics, and both are from the spiritual part which is from heaven from the Lord (for all understanding of truth and all application of knowledges to truths are thence), it is therefore said that there shall be a highway from Egypt into Assyria, that Assyria may come into Egypt and Egypt into Assyria; and that the Egyptians may serve with the Assyrian; and afterwards, that Israel shall be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land. The midst signifies the inmost from which the rest, or from which the whole is derived (as may be seen above, n. 213); and the land, the church where these things are; and because it is the Spiritual from which the Rational and the Scientific are applied to genuine truths, therefore Israel is called the inheritance, or the heir of the house who possesses all things; and Assyria, the work of My hands, because the Rational is thence formed; and Egypt is called a blessed people, because, in the Scientific, as in their ultimate, all things are together; from these considerations also it is evident that by a blessing in the Word is meant a spiritual blessing.

(References: Isaiah 19:23-25; The Apocalypse Explained 313)


[19] In Zechariah:

"As ye were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I liberate you that ye may be a blessing" (viii. 13).

These things are said concerning the devastated church, and concerning the church to be established by the Lord. The house of Judah and the house of Israel signify the church, here in both senses. The church devastated is called a curse, because therein are evil and falsity; but the church to be established is called a blessing, because therein are good and truth.

(References: Zechariah 8:13)


[20] In David:

"Salvation unto Jehovah, thy blessing upon thy people" (Ps. iii. 3).

The blessing of Jehovah upon His people signifies the influx and reception of good and truth; those are called the people of Jehovah who are in spiritual good (see above, n. 331).

(References: Psalms 3:8; The Apocalypse Explained 331)


[21] In Moses:

"I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, that thou mayest become a blessing. I will also bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. xii. 2, 3).

In the same:

"All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him" (Gen. xviii. 18).

These things are said concerning Abraham, and by him, in the highest sense, is meant the Lord, and, in a respective sense, the Lord's celestial kingdom, and the celestial church. Hence it is evident what is signified by I will make thee into a great nation, and I will bless thee, that thou mayest become a blessing, namely, that therein shall be Divine good and Divine truth; a great nation being said of Divine good (see above, n. 331), and a blessing of Divine truth. I will bless them that bless thee, signifies that Divine truth shall be with those who receive it, and the falsity of evil with those who do not receive it. In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him, signifies that from the reception of Divine truth and Divine good they have heaven and eternal happiness. The families of the earth signify those who are in truths from good, families denoting truths, nations denoting goods. Blessing signifies that hence they have heaven and eternal happiness.

(References: Genesis 12:2-3, Genesis 18:18; The Apocalypse Explained 331)


[22] The same is signified by the blessing of Israel and Jacob. In the same:

"Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee" (Num. xxiv. 9).

And in the same:

"And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and shall spread itself towards the west, and towards the east, and towards the north, and towards the south; and in thee, and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. xxviii. 14).

By Israel and Jacob also, in the highest sense, the Lord is meant, and, in the respective sense, the Lord's spiritual kingdom and the spiritual church; by Israel that church internal, by Jacob [that church] external. By the seed that shall be as the dust of the earth, and which shall spread itself towards the west, the east, the north, and the south, is signified the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and received by those who belong to that church; the fructification of good thence is signified by its spreading itself towards the west and the east, and the multiplication of truth thence is signified by its spreading itself towards the north and the south. (That those quarters have such significations, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 141-153.)

(References: Genesis 28:14; Heaven and Hell 141-153; Numbers 24:9)


[23] That the Lord blessed the bread, the wine, the fishes which He gave to the disciples and to the people (Matt. xiv. 15, 21, 22; xv. 32; xxvi. 26, 27; Mark vi. 41; viii. 6, 7; xiv. 22, 23; Luke ix. 16; xxii. 19; xxiv. 30), signified the communication of His Divine, and thus conjunction with them by means of goods and truths, which are signified by bread and wine, and also by fishes; bread and wine signify goods and truths in the spiritual man, and fishes signify goods and truths in the natural.

(References: Luke 9:16, Luke 22:19, 24:30; Mark 6:41, 8:6-7, Mark 14:22-23; Matthew 14:15, 14:15-21, 14:19, 14:21-22, 15:32, 15:32-38, 15:36, Matthew 26:26-27)


[24] In Isaiah:

"He shall call his servants by another name; he who blesseth himself in the earth, shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth, shall swear by the God of truth; because the former distresses shall be delivered to forgetfulness " (lxv. 15, 16).

By blessing himself is signified self-instruction in Divine truths, and the application of them to life. The reason why this is signified by swearing, is, because an oath, in the internal sense, signifies confirmation in oneself, and conviction that it is so, and this is effected from good by means of truths; truths are confirmed and proved with man only from good. A new church is here treated of; and by calling by another name is signified its quality as to truth and good.

(References: Isaiah 65:15-16)


[25] In Jeremiah:

"Swear by the living Jehovah, in truth, in judgment, and in justice; the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory" (iv. 2).

The same is here signified by swearing and blessing themselves; the nations which shall bless themselves in Jehovah signify those who are in good.

(References: Jeremiah 4:2)


[26] By blessing, in the opposite sense, is signified to love evil and falsity, and to imbibe the same. As in Isaiah:

"He who slayeth an ox smiteth a man, he who offers frankincense blesseth vanity; they have also chosen these things in their own ways" (lxvi. 3).

To slay or sacrifice an ox, and to smite a man, signify to worship God in externals, and yet to reject all truth. By sacrificing an ox is signified worship from those things which represented natural good, for an ox denotes natural good; and by smiting a man is signified to reject and deny the truth, man in the Word denoting truth. To offer incense and to bless vanity, signify to worship God from such things as represented spiritual good, and yet to love evil and falsity, and to imbibe them; an offering of incense denoting worship from spiritual good, and vanity denoting evil and the falsity of evil.

(References: Isaiah 66:3; Luke 1:68, Luke 2:28, 2:30-31; Psalms 21:1; Revelation 5:12)

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 334, 344, 365, 439, 465, 625, 657

Other New Christian Commentary

Bless 1

Blessing and righteousness 1

Blessings of the breasts 1

To 1

Olives 1

Plants of olives 1

Vanity 1

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.


 The Blessings and Responsibilities of Family
To build a home in the real sense, married partners must work together and individually toward this highest of human loves-work for it daily by resisting evils that weaken marriages.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18


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


Translate: