The Bible

 

Genesis 1

English: King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, ...

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 246, 300, 476, 478, 480, 670, 709, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

True Christian Religion 20, 34, 46, 48, 364, 490


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 229, 294, 401, 513, 526, 527, 555, ...

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 23, 25, 28

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:




Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 2:3, 7, 16, 19, 5:1, 2, 6:1, 21, 8:17, 9:1, 2, 3, 6, 11:7

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

Job 12:7, 9, 26:8, 38:8

Psalms 8:4, 7, 19:2, 24:2, 33:6, 7, 9, 74:16, 95:5, 104:6, 14, 19, 25, 115:15, 16, 121:2, 136:5, 7, 9, 148:4, 7

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Isaiah 40:26, 45:7, 61:11

Jeremiah 4:23, 10:12, 31:35

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Word/Phrase Explanations

beginning
In the Word, "beginning" doesn't just mean the beginning of something in time. In the inner sense, it means the initial phase of a spiritual...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

created
The creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis means the new creation of the celestial church called 'Man'.

heaven
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

Earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

form
A person who has yet to be regenerated is called 'a void and an empty earth', and also 'ground where no good or truth has...

Void
A 'void', or 'Vacuity' denotes a person's state before regeneration. From Arcana Coelestia 7: "The first state is the state which precedes, both the state...

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" is a state where truth is lacking.

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

Face of the deep
The face of the deep (Gen. 1:2) signifies the lust of the unregenerate man, and the falsities thence originating.

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

spirit
There are two aspects to the life of each person. We might call them "heart" and "mind," a part of us that wants and feels...

Spirit of God
'The spirit of God,' as in Genesis 1:2, signifies the divine mercy of the Lord. 'The spirit of God' is His emanation. 'The spirit of...

Face of the waters
The face of the water (Gen. 1:2) signifies the knowledges of good and truth.

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

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

light
Nov. 4, 1879: Thomas Edison filed a patent for a long-burning light bulb. Nov. 5, 1879: The light bulb was universally accepted as the symbol...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

evening
Since the light and warmth of the sun represent the Lord’s wisdom and love, it makes sense that evening, a time when the light and...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

Firmament
The firmament, as in Genesis 1, signifies the internal man. The firmament of heaven is mutual love.

midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

second
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Gathered together
'The waters were gathered together' signifies falsities collected.

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

Grass
Grass signifies the scientific principle. Just as green grass serves animals for support, scientific truth serves men for spiritual nourishment. ‘Grass’ is scientific truth, and...

Herb
Every herb in the Word signifies some species of scientifics. 'Herb bearing seed,' as mentioned in Genesis 1:29, signifies every truth which regards use. 'Green...

Seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

fruit
In Zechariah 8:12, 'the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground her increase,' signifies that the spiritual affection of truth produces the good of...

tree
In general, plants in the Bible represent facts, thoughts and ideas – intellectual things. This makes sense: Plants are rooted in place, but can grow...

after
According to Swedenborg, time and space don’t exist in spiritual reality; they are purely natural things that exist only on the physical plane. This means...

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

Third day
'The third day' signifies the end of a state of preparation for reception, and so an end of purification, as in Exodus 19:16. 'The third...

signs
The Bible often speaks of signs and miracles as things that convinced people of the Lord's leading. Swedenborg divides the two, identifying "signs" as things...

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

Great lights
Great lights, as in luminaries, signify love and faith, and are called in Genesis 1:14-17, the sun, moon, and stars.

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

fourth
'The fourth watch' signifies the first state of the church at break of day, when good begins to act by truth.

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

Fowl
Fowl signify spiritual truth; a bird, natural truth; and a winged thing, sensual truth. Fowl signify intellectual things. Fowl signify thoughts, and all that creeps...

Fly
To fly, when spoken of the Lord, signifies to foresee and to provide. To fly, when predicated of the Lord, also signifies omnipresence. To fly...

Open
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

Fruitful
To be fruitful is predicated of goodnesses, and to be multiplied, of truths.

multiply
'Spreading themselves on the earth,' as in Genesis 8:17, signifies the internal self operating on the external.

fill
There are two ways something can be filled: It can be filled with something bad against the wishes of its owner, or it can be...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

Cattle
Animals in the Bible generally refer to spiritual activity, the things we actually do on a spiritual level. "Cattle," as typically used in the Bible,...

beast
"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

Image
'An image' signifies falsities from self-derived intelligence.

Fish
Fish signify sensual affections which are the ultimate affections of the natural man. Also, those who are in common truths, which are also ultimates of...

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

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

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

female
Female signifies good.

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

green
The color green is almost exclusively used in connection with plants in the Bible (the exceptions include two stomach-turning references to moldy plagues in Leviticus),...

sixth
Like most numbers in the Bible, "six" can have various meanings depending on context, but has a couple that are primary. When used in relation...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Animals and Plants in Heaven
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Celebrating the Seven Days of Creation
Offers a wide array of ideas for play time, art projects, field trips, and more.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Correspondences of Light
Illustrations of three stories in the Word that talk about light. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Creation Chain
Make a paper chain with the names (or pictures) of the people in your family and other things that the Lord has made. Or make a paper chain that illustrates several things in creation that depend on one another. 
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Diorama
A great family project to build and display in your home.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Mobile
Assemble this lovely mobile to remind you of all the Lord's precious gifts to us.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Poem with Hand Motions
A lovely poem about creation with hand motions.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Creation | Seas to Trees Pop-up
Color cut-and-fold pop-up project showing dry land rising out of the water and then growing a tree illustrating Genesis 1:9-13. Sample activity from Creation: reflection of God, Level C, ages 11-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Creation Sequencing Cards
Children can color and cut out these cards, then practice putting them in order from day 1-7.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Story (circle book project)
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Creation | The First Day - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness game and song, separate light and darkness collage, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level A, ages 3-6.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 6

 Creation | The First Day - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness experiment with accompanying video, let there be light folding paper project, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level B, ages 7-10.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Creation | The First Day - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: living in the dark--group blindfold games, video and discussion on the bible, creation and a can of peaches, scripted story discussion, and an illustrated quotation card. Sample Lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level C.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Family Worship: The Story of Creation
Ideas for reading and discussing the story of creation in Genesis 1. Includes suggestions for extending the experience such as going for a nature walk.
Religion Lesson | Ages 3 - 15

 God Said What? The Creation Story
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Memory Verse: Giving Thanks for Creation
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Life Is Eternal
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Overview of Creation Reflection of God Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14
Overview of Creation: reflection of God, Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Prophecies of the Advent
Prophecies of Jesus' advent on earth often use the image of new light dawning in darkness to describe the spiritual impact His birth would have on the world.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Quotes: Giving Thanks for Creation
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Summary of Creation and Thankfulness
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Sun and the Fruit of Creation
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Thankfulness
A Thanksgiving "wreath" to color and display.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Thanking the Lord for Creation
How can your words and actions show the Lord that you appreciate His creation?
Activity | Ages over 15

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Creation: A General View
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The Fifth and Sixth Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The First Four Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Days of Creation Collage Book or Mural
Ideas from an art teacher for making a creation book or mural.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Fifth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fifth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The First Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The First Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Fourth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fourth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Meaning of the Tree of Life
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Purpose of Creation
Birth brings a person into the natural world, but God's ultimate purpose is that a person be born again into heavenly life, the life of the spirit.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Second Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Second Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Seven Days of Creation
An illustrated story of the seven days of creation.
Story | Ages 3 - 7

 The Sixth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sixth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Story of Creation
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 The Story of Creation: Family Worship Ideas
Detailed notes on the seven days of creation.
Article | Ages over 18

 The Third Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Third Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Word Made Flesh
Like Genesis, the Gospel of John begins with creation. While Genesis describes the creation of natural light, John describes a second creation into spiritual light.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Using the Lord’s Creation
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Where Did Everything Come From?
Grandpa explains to Annika and Peter where everything came from.
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 Why Are We Here?
Lesson and activities to explore why we were created - what God intends for us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #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

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

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Arcana Coelestia #5354

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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5354. 'And the name of the second he called Ephraim' means a new area of understanding within the natural, and the essential nature of it. This is clear from the meaning of 'the name' and 'calling the name' as the essential nature, dealt with in 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009, 2724, 3006, 3421; and from the representation of 'Ephraim' as the area of understanding within the natural, dealt with below. What the new area of understanding and what the new area of will are, meant by 'Ephraim and Manasseh', must be stated first. It is indeed well known in the Church that a person must be born again, that is, be regenerated, so that he may enter the kingdom of God. This is well known because the Lord has declared it quite explicitly in John 3:3, 5; yet What being born again implies is still known to only a few. And the reason for this is that few know what good and evil are. The reason people do not know what good and evil are is that they do not know what charity towards the neighbour is. If they did know what this was they would also know what good was, and from good what evil was; for everything is good that springs out of genuine charity towards the neighbour.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 144-145)


[2] But with no one can this good have its origin in the person himself, for it is something utterly heavenly flowing into him from the Lord. This heavenly good is flowing in constantly, but evils and falsities stand in the way and prevent the reception of it. So that it may be received therefore it is necessary for the person to remove the evils and, so far as he possibly can do so, the falsities too, and thereby bring himself into a condition to receive that good flowing in. When, after evils have been removed, he accepts the inflow of good he acquires a new will and a new understanding. The new will enables him to feel a sense of delight in doing good to his neighbour without any selfish end in view, and the new understanding enables him to take delight in learning what goodness and truth are for their own sakes and for the sake of the life he should lead. Because this new understanding and new will are brought into being by what flows in from the Lord, the person who has been regenerated therefore acknowledges and believes that the goodness and truth for which he feels an affection do not originate in himself but in the Lord, and also that what does originate in himself or is properly his own is nothing but evil.

[3] From all this one may see what is meant by being born again, and also what is meant by a new will and a new understanding. But regeneration, which brings the new will and the new understanding into being, does not take place in a single instant. Rather, it is taking place from earliest childhood through to the final phase of life, and after that for ever in the next life; and it is accomplished by Divine means that are countless and beyond description. In himself the human being is nothing but evil which is constantly radiating from him as if from a furnace and is constantly trying to smother good while it is still being born. The removal of that kind of evil and the firm implantation of good in its place cannot be effected except through the whole course of a person's life; nor can it be effected except by Divine means which are countless and beyond description. At the present time scarcely anything is known about these means, for the reason that people do not allow themselves to be regenerated. Nor do they believe that regeneration is anything, because they do not believe in a life after death. The process by which regeneration takes place, a process involving things beyond description, constitutes the major part of angelic wisdom; and that process is of such a nature that no angel can ever completely exhaust all there is to know about it. This is the reason why in the internal sense of the Word it is the chief matter that is dealt with.

[4] It is evident from very many places in the Word that 'Ephraim' means a new understanding within the natural, above all in the prophet Hosea, who makes many references to Ephraim, the following among them,

I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me, that you have altogether committed whoredom, O Ephraim; Israel has been defiled. Israel and Ephraim will collapse through their iniquity; Judah also will collapse with them. Ephraim will become a lonely place on the day of reproach. 1 And I will be like a moth to Ephraim, and like a worm to the house of Joseph. And Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound; and Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb, and he could not cure you. Hosea 9:3, 5, 9, 11-13.

After this in the same prophet,

When I healed Israel the iniquity of Ephraim was revealed, and the evils of Samaria; for they practised a lie, and a thief came, a band spread itself outside. And Ephraim was like a silly dove with no heart; they called on Egypt, they went away to Assyria. When they go I will stretch My net over them. Hosea 7:1, 11-12 and following verses.

(References: Hosea 5:12-13, Hosea 7:12)


[5] And further on in the same prophet,

Israel has been swallowed up, now they are going to be among the gentiles, like a vessel in which there is no desire. When they went up to Assyria [they were like] a wild ass alone by himself; Ephraim procures lovers 2 with a prostitute's hire. Hosea 8:8-9.

Israel will not dwell in Jehovah's land, but Ephraim will return to Egypt, and in Assyria they will eat what is unclean. Hosea 9:3.

Ephraim has encompassed Me with a lie, and the house of Israel with deceit; and Judah will have dominion still with God and with the saints of the Faithful One. 3 Ephraim feeds the wind, and pursues the east wind. All the day long he multiplies lies and devastation and they make a covenant with the Assyrian, and oil is carried down into Egypt. Hosea 11:11; 12:1.

(References: Hosea 4:17-19, 5:11-14, Hosea 11:12)


[6] Ephraim is referred to by this prophet in many other places besides these, such as Hosea 4:16-18; 5:3, 5, 9, 11-13; 7:8-9; 9:8, 11, 13, 16; 10:6, 11; 11:3, 8-9; 12:8, 14; 13:1, 12; 14:8. In all these places 'Ephraim' is used to mean the area of understanding within the Church, Israel' the spiritual area within it, and 'Judah' the celestial area. Also, since the area of understanding within the Church is meant by 'Ephraim', frequent reference is therefore made to Ephraim going away into Egypt or into Assyria. This is because 'Egypt' means factual knowledge and 'Assyria' reasonings based on this; and factual knowledge and reasonings are things associated with the understanding. For the meaning of Egypt' as factual knowledge, see 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, 2588, 3325, 4749, 4964, 4966; and for that of 'Asshur' or 'Assyria' as reason or reasoning, 119, 1186.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165)


[7] The understanding area of the Church is meant in a similar way by 'Ephraim' in the following places: In Zechariah,

Exult greatly, O daughter of Zion! Make a noise, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king comes to you. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and I will cut off the battle bow; on the other hand he will speak peace to the nations. And his dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. I will bend Judah for Me, I will fill Ephraim with the bow; and I will rouse your sons, O Zion, together with your sons, O Javan. Zechariah 9:9-10, 13.

This refers to the Lord's Coming, also to the Church among the gentiles. 'Cutting off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem' stands for the entire understanding which the Church possesses. 'Filling Ephraim with the bow' stands for imparting a new understanding. For 'the chariot' means doctrinal teaching, see 5321; 'the horse' means the power of understanding, 2760-2762, 3217, 5321; and 'the bow' too means doctrinal teaching, 2685, 2686, 2709. Doctrinal teaching is dependent on the power of understanding, for to the extent that a person understands it, he believes it; his understanding of doctrinal teaching determines what his faith is like.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2685-2686)


[8] For this reason the children of Ephraim are called 'archers' in David,

The children of Ephraim who were armed (they were archers) turned back on the day of battle. Psalms 78:9.

In Ezekiel,

Son of man, take a stick and write on it, For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions. Then take another stick and write on it, Joseph's - the stick of Ephraim and of the whole house of Israel, his companions. After that join them together, one to the other into one stick for you, that both may be one in your 4 hand. Behold, I am about to take the stick of Joseph which is in the hands of Ephraim and of the tribes of Israel his companions, and I will add them who are on it to the stick of Judah, and will make them into one stick, that they may be one stick in My hand. Ezekiel 37:16-17, 19.

Here also 'Judah' is used to mean the celestial area within the Church, 'Israel' the spiritual area within it, and 'Ephraim' the understanding area. The idea that these will be made one through the good of charity is meant by the promise that one stick will be made out of two. For 'a stick' means good which is the good of charity and of works motivated by charity, see 1110, 2784, 2812, 3720, 4943.

[9] In Jeremiah,

It is a day [when] the watchmen will cry from mount Ephraim, Arise, let us go up to Zion, to Jehovah our God. I will be a father to Israel, and Ephraim will be My firstborn. Jeremiah 31:6, 9.

In the same prophet,

I have surely heard Ephraim bewailing, You have chastised me and I was chastised, like an unruly calf. Direct me, that I may be directed. Is not Ephraim a precious son to Me? Is he not a delightful child? For after I have spoken against him I will surely remember him again. Jeremiah 31:18, 20.

In the same prophet,

I will bring back Israel to his own habitation so that he may feed on Carmel and Bashan; and on mount Ephraim and in Gilead his soul will be satisfied. Jeremiah 50:19

In Isaiah,

Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, to the falling flower and the glory of its beauty, which is on the head of a valley of fat ones confused by wine. Isaiah 28:1.

[10] In all these places too 'Ephraim' means the area of understanding within the Church. The area of understanding within the Church is that understanding which members of the Church have about truth and goodness, that is, about matters of doctrine regarding faith and charity. Thus it is the notions, conceptions, or ideas which they possess about these matters. Truth forms the spiritual area of the Church, and good the celestial area. But one member's understanding of truth and goodness is different from another's, and therefore the nature of each member's understanding of truth determines the kind of truth known to him. And the same is so with each person's understanding of goodness.

[11] What the Church's area of will, meant by 'Manasseh', is exactly can be recognized from the area of understanding, which is 'Ephraim'. The nature of the Church's will is similar to that of its understanding in that it varies from one member to another. 'Manasseh' means that area of will in Isaiah,

Through the wrath of Jehovah Zebaoth the earth has been darkened, and the people have become as fuel for the fire; a man will not spare his brother. A man will eat the flesh of his own arm; Manasseh [will consume] Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and together they are against Judah.

'A man will eat the flesh of his own arm, Manasseh [will consume] Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh' stands for the member of the Church when his will acts in opposition to the activity of his understanding, and his understanding acts in opposition to the activity of his will.

(References: Isaiah 9:19-21)


[12] In David,

God has spoken by means of His holiness, I will exalt, I will divide up Shechem and portion out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; and Ephraim is the strength of My head. Psalms 60:6-7.

In the same author,

Turn Your ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead 5 Joseph like a flock; You who are seated upon the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up Your power. Psalms 80:1-2.

Here also 'Ephraim' stands for the area of understanding within the Church and 'Manasseh' for the area of will there. The same meaning is also evident from the blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh by Jacob before he died, and in addition from the fact that Jacob accepted Ephraim in place of Reuben, and Manasseh in place of Simeon, Genesis 48:3, 5. For Reuben had represented the Church's area of understanding, which is faith in the understanding, or doctrine, 3861, 3866. Also, Simeon had represented faith in action - or obedience and the will to put truth into practice - from which charity springs and through which charity expresses itself; thus he represented truth realized in action, which is good belonging to the new will, 3869-3872.

(References: Genesis 48:1)


[13] The reason why Jacob, who by then was Israel, blessed Ephraim more fully than Manasseh, by placing his right hand on the former and his left on the latter, Genesis 48:13-20, was the same as the one involved in Jacob's procurement for himself of Esau's birthright. It was also the same as what was involved in the birth of Perez and Zerah, Judah's sons by Tamar; though he was the firstborn, Zerah nevertheless came out after Perez, Genesis 38:18-30. The reason this happened was that the truth of faith, which belongs to the understanding, seems to occupy the first place while a person is being regenerated, and the good of charity, which belongs to the will, seems to occupy the second. But in actual fact good occupies the first place, as is plain to see once the person has been regenerated. On this subject, see 3314, 3539, 3548, 3556, 3563, 3570, 3576, 3603, 3701, 4243, 4244, 4247, 4337, 4925, 4926.

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Footnotes:

1. Reading correptionis (reproach), which Swedenborg has in another place, for correctionis (correction)

2. literally, loves

3. The Latin means Israel, but the Hebrew means the Faithful One.

4. The Latin means My, but the Hebrew means your.

5. The Latin means He who leads, but the Hebrew means You who lead.

-----

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3324-3539, 4243-4244, 4925-4926, 4928, 4930, 4977, Genesis 38:28-30, 38:29, 41:52; Hosea 7:12)

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Arcana Coelestia 5356, 6222, 6236, 6237, 6241, 6249, 6264, 6265, 6267, 6377, 6583, 6584, 7679, 8932, 9325, 9340, 9396, 9553, 9780, 10227, 10283

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 39, 193, 222, 236, 316, 336, 355, 376, 386, 440

Other New Christian Commentary

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


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