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

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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.

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Footnotes:

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

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

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

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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


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Apocalypse Explained #388

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

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388. And with the wild beasts of the earth. That this signifies evils of life, which are lusts and the falsities thence arising from the love of self and of the world, which devastate all things of the church with man, is plain from the signification of wild beasts, as denoting the lusts and falsities arising from the love of self and of the world; and because those are themselves evils of life; for an evil life is a life of lusts and falsities, therefore, by the wild beasts of the earth are here meant those things. That wild beasts signify such things will be seen in what follows. And from the signification of the earth as denoting the church (concerning which see above, n. 29, 304); and as by wild beasts are signified evils of life, and these devastate the church with man; and as by the earth is signified the church, therefore, by the wild beasts of the earth are signified evils of life which devastate the church with man. The church with man is mentioned because the church is in man; for a church is a church from charity and faith, and these are in man; and if these are not present, there is no church with him. It is believed that the church exists where the Word is, and where the Lord is known; but yet the church consists only of those who from the heart acknowledge the Divine of the Lord, and who learn truths from the Lord by the Word, and do them; no others constitute the church. That by the wild beasts of the earth are here specifically signified evils of life, is evident from the series of things in the internal sense. It is said that power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the wild beasts of the earth. By the sword is signified falsity destroying truth; by hunger, the deprivation of the knowledges of truth and good; by death, the extinction of spiritual life; thence by the wild beasts of the earth are signified evils of life, because these rule when spiritual life is extinguished for when there is no spiritual life, then the life is merely natural, and the latter life, without the former, is full of lusts from the love of self and the world, - thus infernal; therefore that life is what is meant by an evil wild beast.

(References: Revelation 6:8; The Apocalypse Explained 29, The Apocalypse Explained 304)


[2] Moreover, with respect to the evil life, which is signified by the evil wild beast, it exists equally with those who lead a good moral life if they are without spiritual life; for they do good, and speak truth, and exercise sincerity and justice, but only for the sake of fame, honours, gain, and the laws; thus make a pretence for the sake of appearance, emulating the spiritual, whereas inwardly they neither will anything good nor think anything of truth; they also ridicule sincerity and justice, except for the above reasons; therefore, inwardly they are infernal. This also is evident with such people when they become spirits, which takes place immediately after death; then, when those external bonds which have been mentioned are taken away from them, they rush without restraint into evils of every kind. But it is different with those who have led a good moral life from a spiritual origin. (But upon this subject more may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 484, 329-531, 534; also above, n. 182.) These things are mentioned in order that it may be known what is meant by an evil life, namely, that it is not the external life, of the body, and of the world where men are, that is called the natural world, but the internal [life] of the spirit, and of the world where angels are, that is called the spiritual world. For man, as to his body, with its gestures and speech, is in the natural world, but as to his spirit, namely, as to thought and affection, he is in the spiritual world; yea, as the sight of the body has an extension into the natural world, and there diffuses itself abroad, so the sight of the spirit, which is thought from affection, has an extension into the spiritual world, and is there diffused abroad. That this is the case few know, and hence they suppose that it is of no consequence to think evil and to will evil, provided one abstains from doing evil and speaking evil; still, however, all thought and volition affects the man's spirit and constitutes his life after death.

(References: Heaven and Hell 484, 529-531, 534; The Apocalypse Explained 182)


[3] That evil wild beasts signify lusts and the falsities thence arising from the love of self and the world, which devastate every thing of the church with man, and also, in an opposite sense, the affections of truth, which vivify ever thing of the church, is evident from the following passages in the Word.

In Jeremiah:

"Go, assemble every wild beast of the field; come to devour. Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyards; they have trodden my field under foot, they have reduced the field of desire into a desert of solitude" (xii. 9-11).

The subject here treated of is the vastation of the church as to its truths and as to its goods. Vastation is described by the shepherds destroying the Lord's vineyard, and treading His field under foot. By shepherds are meant those who teach truths, and thereby lead to the good of life; in the present case, those who teach falsities, and thereby lead to evil of life. By the vineyard is meant the church as to truths; and by the field, the church as to good. The vastation thereof is meant by destroying and by treading them under foot, also by reducing the field into a desert of solitude. And because lusts and falsities arising from the love of self and the world, devastate it, it is said, "Go, assemble every wild beast of the field; come to devour"; every wild beast of the field signifying falsities and the lusts thence arising, and to devour signifying to devastate and consume. That by the wild beast of the field is not meant the wild beast of the field, is evident, for it is said that the shepherds have destroyed the vineyard, and trodden the field under foot; and by shepherds are meant pastors of the church, and not shepherds of the flock.

(References: Jeremiah 12:9-11, 12:9-10)


[4] In David:

"The boar out of the wood treadeth under foot" thy vine, "and the wild beast of the fields doth devour it" (Ps. lxxx. 8, 9, 13).

By the vine here is signified the same as by the vineyard above, namely, the church as to truth, which is called the spiritual church; the vastation thereof by the lusts and falsities of the natural man separated from the spiritual, is meant by the boar out of the wood treading it under foot; the boar out of the wood signifying the evil lusts of the natural man; and the wild beast of the fields, falsities.

(References: Psalms 80:8-9, 80:13)


[5] In Hosea:

"I will lay waste their vine and their fig-tree, and I will make them a forest, and the wild beast of the field shall devour them" (ii. 12).

By the vine and the fig-tree is signified the church; by the vine, the internal church, which is of the spiritual man; and by the fig-tree, the external church, which is of the natural man; the vastation of both is signified by, I will lay them waste, and make them a forest, and the wild beast of the field shall devour them. The forest signifies the sensual man, which is in absolute fallacies, and in the falsities thence; and the beast of the field signifies falsities thence and evil lusts. For when the church with man is devastated, that is, when the truth of the church is no longer believed, then man becomes sensual, believing nothing but what he can see with his eyes, and touch with his hands, and such a man gives himself up wholly to the love of self and the love of the world, thus to lusts. That the church is here meant by the vine and the fig-tree, is evident from the second verse of the same chapter, where it is said, that they should plead with her mother; for she is "not my wife, neither am I her husband"; and by mother and wife in the Word is signified the church.

(References: Hosea 2:2, Hosea 2:12)


[6] In Moses:

"By little and little I will drive out the" nations "lest the land become a solitude, and the wild beast of the field be multiplied against thee" (Exod. xxiii. 28, 29; Deut. vii. 22).

What these signify, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 9333-9338), namely, that by the nations are signified the evils which man has, also those from inheritance; and that with man they are removed by degrees, since if they were removed instantly before good is formed in him by means of truths, falsities would enter which would destroy him. The wild beasts of the field signify falsities arising from the delights of natural loves.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9333-9338; Deuteronomy 7:22; Exodus 23:28-29, 23:29-30)


[7] In the same:

"If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them, I will give peace on the earth, so that ye shall lie down securely, and none shall make you afraid; and I will cause the evil wild beast to cease out of the land, and the sword shall not go through your land. But if ye will not obey me, and do all my precepts, I will send among you the wild beast of the field, which shall bereave you of your children, and destroy your beast, and make you few in number, that your highways may be laid waste" (Lev. xxvi. 3, 6, 14, 22).

This describes the state of the life of those who have charity, and of those who have not. The life of charity is meant by walking in the statutes, observing the precepts, and doing them, for this is charity; the state of their life is described by peace, by lying down securely, and none making them afraid; by which is signified blessedness of heart and soul, arising from the conjunction of good and truth, whence there is no longer any combat of evil and falsity against them. It is also described by, "I will cause the evil wild beast to cease out of the land, and the sword shall not pass through it," by which is signified that the lusts and falsities arising from the love of self and the world [shall exist no longer]; the evil wild beast signifying the lusts that destroy good affections, and the sword signifying the falsities that destroy truths. That the contrary state is theirs who have not charity, is described by, "if ye will not obey me, and do all my precepts, I will send the wild beast of the field among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your beast, and make you few in number, that your highways may be devastated," by which is signified, that by lusts, and the falsities thence, they shall be deprived of every good and truth. The lusts and the falsities thence which would thus deprive are signified by the wild beast of the field which shall bereave you; the good affections of which they are deprived are signified by the beast which shall be destroyed; and the truths themselves thence are signified by their highways which shall be devastated; ways denoting the truths which lead to good.

(References: Leviticus 26:3, 26:6, 26:14, 26:22)


[8] In Ezekiel:

"And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil wild beast to cease out of the land, that they may dwell trustingly in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. They shall no more be a prey to the nations, and the wild beast of the field shall not devour them; but they shall dwell trustingly, and none shall make them afraid" (xxxiv. 25, 28).

These words relate to the Lord's coming, and to His kingdom then; what they signify in the internal sense, is evident from the passages just now explained, where many similar words occur. By the evil wild beast in the land are signified lusts; and by the wild beast of the field, falsities.

(References: Ezekiel 34:25, 34:28)


[9] In Hosea:

"I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and I will rend the caul of their heart, and I will devour them like a fierce lion; the wild beast of the field shall tear them" (xiii. 8).

The vastation of good by falsity is treated of in this passage. A bear bereaved of her whelps signifies the power of evil from falsity; and a fierce lion, the power of falsity from evil; and the wild beast of the field, lusts and falsities; destruction by these is signified by the wild beasts tearing them; the of truth from good by falsity and evil is signified by rending the caul of their heart.

(References: Hosea 13:8)


[10] In Isaiah:

"No lion shall be there, and the ravenous of the wild beasts shall not go up thither" (xxxv. 9).

In that chapter the Lord's coming is treated of, and the state of those who are in His kingdom. "No lion shall be there," signifies that there shall be no falsity destroying the truth; "the ravenous of the wild beasts shall not go up thither," signifies that there shall be no lust of destroying; because this [lust] is from hell, it is said, it shall not go up thither.

(References: Isaiah 35:9)


[11] In Zephaniah:

Jehovah "will stretch out his hand over the north, and destroy Assyria; that the flocks may lie down in the midst of her, every wild beast of the nation; both the cormorant and the bittern shall pass the night in the upper lintels of it. Such is the city that dwelleth carelessly, saying in her heart, I, and none other beside me; how is she become a desolation, a place for the wild beast to lie down in!" (ii. 13-15).

Man's own intelligence is here treated of, which confirms falsities and evils by reasonings from scientifics, and by applications from the sense of the letter of the Word. By the north is signified the natural and sensual man, also the Scientific which is there; and by Assyria is signified reasoning from it; and by, saying in her heart, "I, and none other beside me," is signified man's own intelligence. From these considerations it is evident what the particulars here mentioned involve in a series, namely, that by, Jehovah "will stretch out his hand over the north, and destroy Assyria," is signified that He will deprive the natural man of such a quality, and the intellectual or reasoning man thence, of all perception of good and understanding of truth. By, "the flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, every wild beast of the nation; both the cormorant and the bittern shall pass the night in the upper lintels of it," is signified, that everywhere therein shall be falsities of evil, and falsities of thought and perception in the knowledges from the Word, the wild beast of the nation denoting the falsity of evil, the cormorant and the bittern, the falsity of thought and perception, and the upper lintels, knowledges from the Word. By, "Such is the city that dwelleth carelessly, saying in her heart, I, and none other beside me," is signified, that such intelligence trusts to itself, and assumes everything from the proprium; a city signifying doctrine from such intelligence. By, "how is she become a desolation, a place for the wild beast to lie down in!" is signified, that nothing of truth remains therein, but that it is full of falsities.

(References: Zephaniah 2:13-15)


[12] In Ezekiel:

"Speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Asshur was a cedar in Lebanon, [which] became high above all the trees of the field; but because his height is exalted, and hath shot up his top among the entwistings, therefore strangers shall cut him off, and the violent of the nations shall cast him down. Upon his ruin shall dwell every bird of the heavens, and every wild beast of the field shall be upon his branches" (xxxi. 2, 3, 5, 10-13).

The things mentioned in this passage are similar in signification to those above described. By Pharaoh king of Egypt is signified the same as above by the north, namely, the natural man and the Scientific which is there; by Assyria is signified reasoning from it; by his height being exalted, and shooting up his top among the entwistings, is signified glorying from the intelligence thence, thus from one's own intelligence. From this general signification of the contents [of the passage] it may be seen what the particulars there involve, namely, that, "speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude," is spoken of the natural man, and of the scientifics therein; Pharaoh king of Egypt is the natural man, and his multitude is the Scientific there. That the cedar in Lebanon has become high above all the trees of the field, signifies the Rational increasing by scientifics, Assyria denoting the Rational, and the cedar the Intellectual, and his becoming high above all the trees of the field, signifying immense growth from the knowledges of truth and good. "But because he is exalted in height, and he hath shot up his top among the entwistings," signifies because of his glorying from intelligence, and from the knowledge (scientia) belonging to the natural man, which glorying, being an exaltation of mind from the love of self, is from the proprium. For the natural man, separate from the spiritual, exalts itself, because being separate from the spiritual it is in the proprium, and attributes all things to itself and nothing to God; to shoot up his top is to exalt itself, and the entwistings denote the scientifics which belong to the natural man (as may be seen, n. 2831, 8133). That "strangers and the violent of the nations shall cut him off and cast him down," signifies that falsities and the evils thence shall destroy the Rational, strangers denoting falsities, and the violent of the nations the evils thence; whence "every bird of the heavens shall dwell upon his ruin, and every wild beast of the field shall be upon his branches," signifies that then there will be falsities of thought, and evils of affection; for birds signify knowledges (cognitions) both of truth and of falsity; the wild beast of the field signifies evils of the affection thence; and the field signifies the church; for no other falsities and evils are meant but those that exist in the church. (That birds signify thoughts, ideas, and reasonings in both senses, with a variety according to their genera and species, may be seen, n. 776, 778, 866, 988, 993, 3219, 5149, 7441.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 776, 778, Arcana Coelestia 866, 988, Arcana Coelestia 991, Arcana Coelestia 2831, 3219, Arcana Coelestia 5149, Arcana Coelestia 7441, Arcana Coelestia 8133; Ezekiel 31:1-3, Ezekiel 31:2-3, Ezekiel 31:5, 31:10, 31:12-13)


[13] In the same:

"And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers; upon the faces of the field shalt thou fall; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered; I have given thee for meat to the wild beast of the field and to the bird of the heaven" (xxix. 5; xxxii. 4).

These things also are said of Pharaoh and of Egypt, by whom is signified the natural man separated from the spiritual, which, when separated, is in absolute falsities and evils, for it is then without the light of heaven, which imparts all intelligence. By being left thrown out into the wilderness, therefore, is signified to be without truths and goods; by the fish of his rivers is signified the sensual Scientific (as may be seen above, n. 342); by falling upon the faces of the field, is signified that everything of the church shall perish with him; by not being brought together nor gathered, is signified, that good and truth is not seen; for the spiritual man sees these things in the natural, because he therein collects and gathers together scientifics whence he forms conclusions; by, "I have given thee for meat to the wild beast of the field and the bird of the heaven," is signified here as above, to perish by falsities of the thought, and the evils of the affection thence. Because the natural man, separated from the spiritual, is carried away into falsities of every kind, and becomes hurtful, therefore, Egypt is said to be a wild beast of the reeds (Ps. lxviii. 31).

(References: Ezekiel 29:5, Ezekiel 32:4; Psalms 68:30, Psalms 68:31; The Apocalypse Explained 342)


[14] In Ezekiel:

"Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou and all thy hands, and the peoples that are with thee; to the flying bird of every wing, and to the wild beast of the field, have I given thee for meat" (xxxix. 4).

This is spoken concerning Gog, by whom is signified external worship separate from internal, which in itself is no worship, being the worship of the natural man separate from the spiritual. "Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel," signifies they have nothing of the good of charity, the mountains of Israel signifying the goods of charity, and to fall there signifying to perish. "Thou and all thy hands, and the people that are with thee," signifies, that that worship together with its doctrinals and falsities would perish; "to the flying bird of every wing, and to the wild beast of the field, have I given thee for meat," signifies the extinction of truth and good by falsities of every kind, and by evils; the evils which are signified by the wild beast of the field, are evils of the life, which are lusts arising from the love of self and the world.

(References: Ezekiel 39:4; Psalms 68:30)


[15] In David:

"O God, the nations have come into thine inheritance the temple of thy holiness have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem in heaps. The dead body of thy servants have they given as meat to the bird of the heavens, the flesh of thy saints to the wild beast of the earth" (lxxix. 1, 2).

By the nations here are not meant nations, but evils of life and falsities of doctrine; for by God's inheritance is signified the church, in which the Lord is all good and truth, because [they are] from Him; by polluting the temple of holiness, and laying Jerusalem in heaps, are signified to profane worship, and pervert the doctrine of the church, the temple of holiness signifying worship, because worship takes place therein, and Jerusalem signifying the church as to doctrine, thus also the doctrine of the church. And by giving the dead body of Thy servants as meat to the bird of the heavens, and the flesh of Thy saints to the wild beast of the earth, is signified to destroy all truths by falsities, and goods by evils; the bird of the heavens here also denoting the thoughts of falsity, and the wild beast of the earth denoting the affections of evil thence.

(References: Psalms 79:1-2)


[16] In the same:

Give not the soul of thy turtle-dove unto the wild beast; forget not the life of thine afflicted ones for ever" (Ps. lxxiv. 19).

By the turtle-dove is signified spiritual good, thus also those who are in that good; and by the wild beast is signified the falsity of evil lusting to destroy, thus also those who are in the falsity of evil and lust to destroy; hence it is evident what is signified [by], "Give not the soul of thy turtle-dove unto the wild beast." By the afflicted ones are meant those that are infested by falsities, and thence are in anxiety, and wait for deliverance.

(References: Psalms 74:19)


[17] In Ezekiel:

The sheep "scattered are without a shepherd, and become meat for every wild beast of the field, and are scattered" (xxxiv. 5, 8).

By this is signified that the goods of charity have been destroyed by falsities, and altogether consumed by evils of every kind thence. The wild beast of the field denotes evils of the life arising from falsities of doctrine. By sheep, in the Word, are meant those who are in the good of charity; but because the genuine spiritual sense is apart from persons, by sheep are signified the goods of charity; by shepherds are signified those who by truths lead to good, and in the abstract the truths themselves by which good is acquired; therefore to be without a shepherd, signifies to have no truth by which good is acquired, consequently, falsity. By becoming meat is signified to be consumed, the same as by being devoured, when wild beasts are spoken of. By the wild beast of the field evils from falsities are signified.

(References: Ezekiel 34:5, 34:8)


[18] In Job:

"Blessed is the man whom God chastiseth. In famine he shall redeem thee from death; and in war from the hands of the sword. At devastation and famine thou shalt laugh, and thou shalt not be afraid of the wild beast of the earth" (v. 17, 20, 22).

These expressions relate to temptations. "Blessed is the man whom God chasteneth" signifies, he that is tempted. "In famine he shall redeem thee from death," signifies deliverance from evils when he is tempted through a lack of good and the non-perception of it; "in war from the hands of the sword," signifies deliverance from falsities when he is tempted through a lack of truth and the non-understanding of it; war denoting temptation. "At devastation and famine thou shalt laugh," signifies that for him there shall be no lack of good; and "thou shalt not be afraid of the wild beast of the earth," signifies that no falsity shall [infest] him.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 5:17, 5:20, 5:22; Job 5:17, 5:20, 5:22)


[19] In Ezekiel:

"Thus shalt thou say unto them, They who are in the wastes shall die by the sword, and him who is upon the faces of the field I will give to the wild beast to be devoured; and they that are in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. For I will give the land unto desolation and wasteness" (xxxiii. 27, 28).

The subjects here treated of are the desolation of all the truth, and the vastation of all the good in the church, since it is also said, I will give the land unto desolation and wasteness; the land signifying the church. "They who are in the wastes shall die by the sword," signifies that those who are in scientifics shall perish by falsities; for the scientifics of the natural man without light from the spiritual are here meant by wastes; "him who is upon the faces of the field I will give to the wild beast to be devoured," signifies that those who are in knowledges from the Word shall perish by the evils of falsity, the faces of the field denoting the things of the church, here knowledges (cognitions) from the Word; the wild beast denoting the evil of falsity. "They that are in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence," signifies that those who have confirmed themselves in falsities and evils from the Word, and also from scientifics, shall utterly perish by evils and falsities; forts denoting confirmations from the Word, caves confirmations from scientifics. That such things are signified by these words, can be seen only from the series in the internal sense, for the subject treated of is, as has been said, the total vastation of the church.

(References: Ezekiel 33:27-28)


[20] In the same:

"I will send upon you famine and the evil wild beast, and I will make thee bereaved; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; especially will I bring the sword upon thee" (v. 17).

Again:

"When I shall send famine upon the land, and cut off man and beast [from it]; when I shall make the evil wild beast to pass through the land, and bereave it, that it become desolate, so that none pass through because of the wild beast; and when I shall bring the sword, and send the pestilence; thus when I shall send my four evil judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, the famine, the evil wild beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast" (xiv. 18, 15, 17, 19, 21).

In the internal sense, by cutting off man and beast is signified to deprive of every affection of good and truth, both internal or spiritual and external or natural. (That this is signified by man and beast in the Word, may be seen, n. 7424, 7523, 7872.) By famine is signified the deprivation of the good of love; by the sword, the deprivation of the truth of faith, both by falsity. By the evil wild beast is signified the deprivation of both by the evils of the love of self and of the world; and by the pestilence, the deprivation of spiritual life thence. These are called here the four judgments, because man is judged from them.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 7424, Arcana Coelestia 7523, 7872; Ezekiel 5:17, Ezekiel 14:13, 14:15, 14:17, 14:19, 14:21)


[21] From the explanation of these passages and of those which precede, it is evident what is meant by each particular here in the series. By the evil wild beast are meant all destructive beasts, such as lions, bears, tigers, panthers, boars, wolves, dragons, serpents, and many others, which prey upon and rend useful animals, such as lambs, sheep, cows, oxen, and the like. That by such wild beasts, and in general by the evil wild beast, are signified lusts arising from the love of self and of the world, from which are all evils of life and falsities of doctrine, is from correspondence, as is evident from appearances in the spiritual world. There all the lusts of evil and falsity appear as wild beasts of various kinds. Those also from whom such appearances arise resemble wild beasts, for their chief delight is to assault and destroy the good. This delight is an infernal delight, and is inherent in the loves of self and of the world, in which the hells are. From these considerations it is evident whence it is that by the evil wild beast in general are signified evils of life, or lusts and the falsities thence arising from the loves of self and of the world, which vastate all things of the church with man.

[22] So far it has been shown from the Word that wild beasts signify evil lusts and falsities, and specifically the lusts of ravaging and destroying goods and truths by means of falsities, thus the spiritual life of man. Now it shall also be shown that wild beasts in the Word signify also the affections of truth and good, which are opposed to the affections of falsity from evils, which are called lusts. The reason why wild beasts in the Word signify also the affections of truth and good is, because the expression, from which they are named and called in the original tongue, signifies life, for wild beast in that tongue is called chajah, and chajah signifies life, and in the affection of truth and good is the very life of the spiritual man; therefore when the wild beast is mentioned in this good sense in the Word, it is better to be changed and called animal, which signifies a living soul. But when in this sense wild beast (fera) is spoken of, the idea which adheres to the word fera in the Latin tongue must be entirely laid aside, for in that language the idea of wild and ferocious adheres to the word fera, and thus an idea unfavourable and evil. It is different in the Hebrew tongue, in which wild beast signifies life, and in general a living soul or animal; in this sense chajah or wild beast (fera) cannot be called beast (bestia), because everywhere in the Word wild beast (fera) and beast (bestia) are mentioned, and by wild beast (fera) is signified the affection of truth, and by beast (bestia) the affection of good. Because wild beast or chajah in this opposite sense signifies the affection of truth and good, therefore Eve, the wife of Adam, is called Chavah, from that expression; as is evident in Moses:

"And the man called his wife's name Eve (Chavah); because she would be the mother of all chaj, that is, living (Gen. iii. 20).

And also the four animals which were cherubim, are called from the same expression, chajah, in the plural; and because to the expression wild beast (fera) in the Latin tongue adheres the idea, of wild and ferocious as has been said, the translators have said animals. That from this word they are called cherubim, which appeared as animals, see Ezekiel i. 5, 13-15, 22; x. 15; and elsewhere.

(References: Ezekiel 1:5, 1:13-15, 1:22, Ezekiel 10:15; Genesis 3:20)


[23] Similarly, the animals to be eaten, as lambs, sheep, she-goats, rams, kids, he-goats, heifers, oxen, cows, as also animals not to be eaten, are, in common language, called wild beasts (feroe), and yet all animals that are to be eaten signify good affections, for they are mild and useful, consequently, not wild and ferocious.

Thus in Moses:

"This is the wild beast (fera) which ye shall eat of every beast (bestia) among all the wild beasts that go upon four, to distinguish between the wild beast which is eaten, and the wild beast which is not eaten" (Lev. xi. 2, 27, 47).

And in another place:

"He that hunteth a hunting of the wild beast, and of the bird, which is eaten" (Lev. xvii. 13).

The animals also that were sacrificed, and have been named above, were termed wild beasts (fera).

Thus in Isaiah:

"And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, and the wild beast thereof is not sufficient for a burnt offering" (xl. 16).

And in David:

"I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy folds for sacrifice. For every wild beast (fera) of the forest is mine, and the cattle (bestiae) upon the mountains of thousands. I know every bird of the mountains: and the wild beast of my fields is with me. If I were hungry I would not tell thee; for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Sacrifice unto God confession" (Ps. l. 9-14).

(References: Isaiah 40:16; Leviticus 11:2, 11:27, 11:47, 17:13; Psalms 50:9-12, 50:9-14, 50:14)


[24] That wild beast signifies both the affection of truth and good, is further plain from the following passages. In Moses:

"In the seventh year, which is the sabbatical year, thou shalt let the land rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat it, and that the wild beast of the field may eat the remainder of them" (Exod. xxiii. 11).

And in another place:

In the year of the sabbath, "all the produce which is in thy land shall be for meat for thy cattle [bestiae], and for the wild beasts (feroe)" (Lev. xxv. 6, 7).

Here by cattle (bestiae) and wild beasts (feroe), are meant lambs, sheep, she-goats, kids, rams, he-goats, heifers, oxen, cows, horses, and asses, but not lions, bears, boars, wolves, and similar rapacious wild beasts; therefore by wild beasts here, are meant domestic wild beasts, which are useful, by which are signified the affections of truth and good.

(References: Exodus 23:11; Leviticus 25:6-7, Leviticus 25:7)


[25] In David:

"Praise Jehovah from the earth, ye whales, and all deeps; wild beast and all cattle; creeping thing, and winged bird; kings of the earth, and all peoples" (Ps. cxlviii. 7, 10, 11).

By these things are signified goods and truths of every kind in man, from which man worships God; and because from such things man worships God, and these are not of man, but of the Lord in Him, it is therefore to be understood that these things worship God, for no one can worship God from himself aright, but from God, that is, from the goods and truths which are of God in him. That no one can name Jesus from himself, but from the Lord, is known to some in the church, and is well known in heaven. By praising Jehovah is signified to worship Him; by whales and deeps are signified scientifics and knowledges (cognitions) in general or in the aggregate; by wild beast and all cattle are signified the affections of truth and good; by creeping thing and bird of every wing is signified the delight of good and truth pertaining to the natural and spiritual man. On this account it is also said, "Praise Jehovah, ye kings of the earth, and all peoples," by whom are signified the truths of good of every kind. That such things are signified by these words, is evident from their signification in the internal sense, and from the Word in heaven, where it is spiritual, because for the angels who are spiritual. (That the Word is also in the heavens, and there, according to the internal sense, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 259-261.)

(References: Heaven and Hell 259-261; Psalms 148:7, 148:10-11)


[26] Again:

"O God, thou makest the rain of benevolences to drop down, thou shalt confirm thy labouring inheritance; thy wild beasts shall dwell therein" (Ps. lxviii. 9, 10).

Here also the wild beast or animal means those who are in the affections of truth and good, or in the abstract, those affections themselves; for by the rain of benevolences which God causes to drop down, is signified the Divine truth from the Divine good. By the labouring inheritance which God shall confirm, is signified the church which is in Divine truth as to doctrine and life; the inheritance denoting the church where these are, which is called labouring from an earnest endeavour to do good. That the wild beasts shall dwell therein, namely, in the inheritance or church, signifies the affections of truth and good. That nothing else is meant here by wild beast, is evident, for the rapacious wild beast, that is, the lust of falsity and evil, cannot dwell in the inheritance upon which God causes the rain of benevolences to drop down.

(References: Psalms 68:9-10)


[27] In Hosea:

"And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the wild beast (fera) of the field, and with the bird of the heavens, and with the creeping thing of the ground; and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth; and I will make them to lie down safely. And I will betroth myself to thee for ever" (ii. 18, 19).

These things are said of a new church from the Lord; and by the wild beast of the field, the bird of the heavens, and the creeping thing of the earth, are signified the same as by those things above in David (Ps. cxlviii. 7, 10, 11), which have been already explained. By covenant is signified conjunction; thus, by making a covenant is signified to be conjoined (see n. 665, 666, 1023, 1038, 1864, 1996, 2003, 2021, 6804, 8767, 8778, 9396, 10,632). For Jehovah cannot make a covenant with or be conjoined with the affections of evil and falsity, or with the lusts signified by wild beasts in the former sense, and He cannot in any way make a covenant with the wild beast, bird, and reptile, but with such things as are signified by them. But these things may be seen more fully explained above (n. 357).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 665-666, Arcana Coelestia 1023, 1038, Arcana Coelestia 1864, 1996, 2003, 2021, Arcana Coelestia 6804, Arcana Coelestia 8767, 8778, Arcana Coelestia 9396, 10632; Hosea 2:18-19; Psalms 148:7, Psalms 148:10-11; The Apocalypse Explained 357)


[28] In Ezekiel:

"Speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; Behold, Asshur, a cedar in Lebanon, beautiful in branch, and a shady wood, and high in stature. The waters made him to grow, whence his height became exalted above all the trees of the field, all the birds of the heavens made their nests in his branches, and under his branches every wild beast of the field brought forth; and in his shade dwelt all great nations; no tree in the garden of God was equal to him in beauty" (xxxi. 2-9).

By Pharaoh and Egypt is here signified the Scientific of the natural man; and by Asshur, the Rational which the Scientific serves, whose growth by true scientifics and knowledges (cognitions) is described by the cedar in Lebanon, by which also the Rational is signified. By the waters which caused it to grow are signified truths; and by the branches is signified extension, such as belongs to the thought of the rational man. Hence it is evident what is signified by, all the birds of the heavens built their nests in his boughs every wild beast of the field brought forth under his branches," and by, "in his shade dwelt all great nations," namely, rational and spiritual truths, affections of truth, and goods, of every kind. For by the birds of the heavens are signified the rational and spiritual truths of every kind; by the wild beast, the affections of truth; by bringing forth is signified to multiply, for from the affections of truth every spiritual birth or multiplication takes place; and by great nations are signified goods. (That birds signify thoughts, things rational, intellectual, and spiritual, thus, truths, because all things of the thought are either truths or falsities, may be seen, n. 745, 776, 866, 988, 991, 3219, 5149, 7441. That to bring forth signifies to multiply truths and goods, and that this is spiritual birth, n. 3860, 3868, 9325. That nations signify those who are in goods, and hence abstractedly goods, n. 1059, 1159, 1258, 1260, 1416, 1849, 6005; and above, n. 175, 331. That Pharaoh and Egypt signify the Scientific in both senses, good and evil, may be seen, n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, 5700, 5702, 6015, 6651, 6679, 6683, 6692, 7296, 9340, 9391. And that Assyria signifies the Rational in both senses, n. 119, 1186.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 119, Arcana Coelestia 745, 776, Arcana Coelestia 866, Arcana Coelestia 988, Arcana Coelestia 991, Arcana Coelestia 1059, 1159, 1164-1165, 1186, 1258, 1260, 1416, 1462, 1849, Arcana Coelestia 3219, 3860, 3868, 5149, Arcana Coelestia 5700, 5702, 6005, 6015, 6651, 6679, 6683, 6692, Arcana Coelestia 7296, Arcana Coelestia 7441, Arcana Coelestia 9325, Arcana Coelestia 9340, 9391; Ezekiel 31:2-9; The Apocalypse Explained 175, The Apocalypse Explained 331)


[29] That Egypt signifies scientific truth, and Assyria rational [truth], and that everything rational pertaining to man has its birth by means of scientifics, or that these are subservient to it, as was said above, is evident from these words 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, and they shall serve Jehovah, the Egyptians with Assyria. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land; whom Jehovah Zebaoth shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance" (xix. 23-25).

Here Egypt signifies the Scientific, Assyria the Rational, and Israel the Spiritual.

(References: Isaiah 19:23-25)


[30] From the passages now adduced it is evident what is signified by the bird and the wild beast of the field, in Ezekiel:

"Thus said the Lord Jehovih; Say unto the bird of every wing, and to every wild beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side over my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth. And ye shall eat fat to satiety, and ye shall drink blood even to drunkenness, of my sacrifice which I will sacrifice for you. And ye shall be satisfied upon my table, with horse and chariot, with mighty man and with every man of war. So will I give my glory among the nations" (xxxix. 17-21).

That these things are spoken of the church to be established by the Lord among the nations, is evident from all the particulars here; therefore by the bird of every wing, and every wild beast of the field, which are to be assembled and to be invited to the sacrifice, are signified all those who are in the affection of truth and good, for by the flesh which they shall eat is signified the good of love; and by the blood which they shall drink, truth from that good; and by the sacrifice is signified the worship itself from these. But these things may be seen more fully explained above (n. 329).

(References: Ezekiel 39:17-22, 39:17-21; The Apocalypse Explained 329)


[31] Sometimes, in the Word, wild beast (fera) and beast (bestia) are mentioned together, sometimes wild beast alone, also beast alone; and sometimes the wild beast of the earth, or the wild beast of the field; and when wild beast and beast are mentioned, then the affection or love of falsity and evil is signified; by the wild beast, the affection or love of falsity; and by beast, the affection or love of evil; or, in the opposite sense, by the wild beast, the affection or love of truth; and by the beast the affection or love of good. But when the wild beast only is mentioned, also when beast only, then by wild beast is meant the affection both of falsity and evil, and in the opposite sense, the affection both of truth and good; but by beast, the affection of evil and of falsity thence, and in the opposite sense, the affection of good and of truth thence. But concerning the signification of beast it will be seen below in its proper place. When, however, the wild beast of the earth is mentioned, the wild beast is meant which devours animals and men; but when the wild beast of the field is mentioned, the wild beast which consumes what is sown is meant; thus the wild beast of the earth signifies those things that destroy the goods of the church; and the wild beast of the field signifies those things that destroy the truths of the church; for by the earth, and also by field, is signified the church; but by the earth is signified the church from the nation and people there, and by the field, the church from what is sown, or from the reception of seeds.

(References: Exodus 23:28-29; Ezekiel 31:1-10, Ezekiel 39:17-22; Hosea 2:2; Jeremiah 12:9-11; Leviticus 25:6-7; Psalms 50:9-14; Revelation 6:8)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 377, 619, 625, 657, 734

Other New Christian Commentary

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Forts and caves 1

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


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